Baldwin County Selected as Regional Site for Habitat for Humanity 2016 Affiliate Summit

Print This Post

Affiliate Summit Milledgeville

Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) has chosen Milledgeville in Baldwin County as one of three regional sites for its 2016 affiliate summits.

The Eastern regional summit will be held Jan. 12 – 14 at First United Methodist Church in Milledgeville. The Midwest regional summit will take place in Milwaukee, WI, March 15 – 17 and the Western regional summit will be held March 29 – 31 in Portland, OR.

Janet Cavin, Baldwin Family Connection coordinator and a member of the Habitat for Humanity Milledgeville-Baldwin County Board of Directors, said HIFI wanted to hold one summit in a rural location where revitalization efforts are making a positive difference in the community.

After considering several locations, the Milledgeville-Baldwin County affiliate was selected because of the success of the ongoing Harrisburg Revitalization Project.

Revitalization in the Harrisburg neighborhood began in 2013 with the creation of a community garden and walking path on the site of the former Harrisburg School, a portion of which has been converted into a community center. When the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate learned about the project it wanted to get involved. As a result, and with the help of partnering organizations, 15 families were able to make critical repairs and improvements to their homes.

Murali Thirumal, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Milledgeville-Baldwin County and a 30-year resident of the community, said HFHI rolled out its neighborhood revitalization initiative in 2010.

“The realization was that Habitat is very good at building homes, but we really need to focus on existing homes in the neighborhood staying stable and strong,” he explained. “It was no longer about just building a house for one family, and more about building a community.”

Harrisburg is home to 1,625 residents and is located just outside the city of Milledgeville, which has a population of approximately 18,000 people.

“We’ve said from the beginning that what is happening in Harrisburg is a model for what we can reproduce across the county,” Cavin said. “So to have an international organization recognize and value what we are doing says a lot about the effort and the commitment of the community partners who are making this happen.”

More than 200 representatives from other Habitat for Humanity affiliates are expected to attend the Milledgeville summit, where they will participate in learning sessions, tour the Harrisburg neighborhood, meet with residents and hear from partnering organizations involved in the project.

“It is amazing,” Cavin said, referring to Milledgeville being chosen as a summit host site. “I still can’t believe this is really happening.” Cavin hopes participants walk away with an understanding of the value in building relationships in the community. “It takes all kinds of people to truly make an impact,” she said. “And the only way for that to happen is for people to know and talk to one another, even if the conversation is challenging or difficult.”

Complete information about the Milledgeville Affiliate Summit is available on the Habitat website.

Janet Cavin
Baldwin Family Connection Coordinator

Bill Valladares
GaFCP Communications Director

Follow us on Twitter: @gafcpnews