Originally from North Carolina, Ms. Annie moved to West Philadelphia in 1968. She first came to the city to keep her sister company while she underwent surgery, and watch over her niece and nephews while their mother recovered. However, Annie, herself was pregnant with her fourth child and after discussing it with her husband, the family decided to settle the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.
They relocated to her current home in 1971, and Annie has been there ever since. Annie raised her four children in this home, and now her seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren often visit.
Annie is a well-known presence on her block. “I never meet strangers! My kids say, ‘You need to stop talking to people every time you go somewhere!’”
She loves connecting with her community. Just this summer, she became Captain of the Block, meaning she ensures that her community is clean and safe for everyone. Some neighbors even call her grandma or ‘Ma.’ Her home is the meeting point. It is where her family visits for home-cooked meals, her church group gathers for dinner, and she sits on her porch to chat with her neighbors.
Annie loves her home and her community, but as the home ages, it becomes more and more difficult for her to maneuver around it. Annie will undergo knee surgery next year, and the pain she endured doing every-day tasks around the house threatened her independence. She needed critical repairs and a working heating system to keep her home comfortable and livable before and after her surgery date.
Annie’s daughter contacted Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia and directed her mother to the CAPABLE program—our repair program that combines the efforts of Habitat’s Home Repair Program and occupational therapists and nurses at Jefferson University and Drexel University Hospitals. Together, we “prescribed” changes to Annie’s home to better accommodate her needs.
Habitat placed lights along her basement steps to illuminate automatically when she walks downstairs to do laundry. Her bedroom now includes security measures to help her get in and out of bed. Her bath and shower are updated with a railing and seat so that she has the extra support to remain independent, and a new heater is being installed to ensure a safe, warm, and dry winter.
Partnering with Habitat through the CAPABLE Program allows Annie to remain in the supportive community she has built around herself. She can take on her new role as Captain of the Block with confidence, continue to provide a safe place for her family to gather, and share more memories with every stranger she turns into a friend.