The roots of Home Project began growing nearly 20 years ago when three DBA attorneys, all participating in the DBA Community Involvement Committee, were searching for additional community service projects for the Committee. Al Ellis, Rex Spivey, and Dolly Kyle initiated the project by partnering with Habitat for Humanity to build our first home for a local family.
Volunteer attorneys, led by Home Project Co-Chairs, have carried the torch since then, making the project what it is today: a coordinated effort by hundreds of attorneys from firms across Dallas, each giving their time and frequently their money to support the cause of affordable, decent housing. Mr. Ellis explains, “It is really one of the best programs we have come up with at the [Dallas] Bar...the beauty of the project was that it could involve a large number of lawyers and really focus on team building.”
The central theme is, and has been, that no commitment of time or money is too small; every hour and every dollar make a difference. And what difference it makes! In a June 2010 interview with KRLD radio, as part of its "KRLD Community Hero" series, a Home Project Co-Chair described how building a house with the Home Project has affected the new homeowners and himself.
On April 28, 2007, the Home Project dedicated its 16th house and DAHfH's milestone 600th house! We were honored to be chosen by Habitat for this milestone and delighted that Archie Edwards and her family are now homeowners. The house is located in the historic Joppa (pronounced “Joppy”) neighborhood of south Dallas, which is tucked away near the banks of the Trinity River at the edge of the Great Trinity Forest. The community became a rallying point for African-Americans after the Civil War and remained a prosperous African-American community from the late 1860s until the 1970s. It is still considered one of the best preserved Freedman communities in the United States. To this day, the date of the Emancipation Proclamation (June 19th) is remembered in the neighborhood with an annual celebration. It is believed that the community’s name translates to “beautiful” or “the beginning” in Hebrew.
The homes our volunteers build are not gifts. Each DAHfH home is financially sponsored by a group of individuals or an organization (like the Home Project) which provides the necessary funds for the construction costs. Habitat for Humanity homeowners then pay Habitat for their houses with an interest-free mortgage made possible through our sponsorship and other Habitat resources. The mortgage payments help fund further homes for DAHfH families. In lieu of a down payment, the homeowners contribute 400 hours of “sweat equity,” building their own homes and the homes of other DAHfH families.