For six years, Jacqueline Tufts, executive director of the New Visions Community Development Corp., worked tirelessly to rebuild poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Broward County. She took trash-strewn, vacant lots, cleaned them up, and built beautiful, single-family homes on them.
Tufts conducted monthly seminars to teach people who have been renting all their lives how to become homeowners. She taught her prospective homeowners that the equity they accumulate in their homes is their best investment toward retirement, and that renting throws that investment away.
Many of the renters Tufts turns into homeowners dutifully pay their rent every month, but do not have the down payment necessary to buy a home. Tufts works to get these buyers grant assistance so they can own their own homes.
New Visions under Tufts built and sold more than 50 homes. This year, a down market for real estate, New Visions built and sold 15 homes, and none has gone into foreclosure.
That Tufts chose to move from Miramar, where she lived for many years, and relocated to the Sistrunk neighborhood that she is redeveloping shows her dedication and commitment to revitalizing poor neighborhoods, and should be applauded.
Clemence Fiagome is a certified general contractor and chief executive officer of Aburi LLC.