As we continue our Focused on Solutions: The Crime Crisis series, WJTV 12’s Walt Grayson, along with Rev. Rhoades, and JSU Professor Dr. Elayne Hayes-Anthony, take a look at a community who is actively working to keep people safe,while providing hope and optimism for those who live there.
Helm Place, an area off of Farish Street, is leading the charge in revitalizing a neighborhood formerly struck with crime and blighted homes.
Reverend C.J. Rhoades, the pastor of Mt. Helm Baptist Church, says prior to his arrival in 2010, church leaders purchased properties around the church and held it in a trust before turning them into two and three-story houses.
“We had hopes of transforming this community, providing some kind of housing,” Rhoades says. “So we had an opportunity to work with the City of Jackson, State of Mississippi to reimagine what this neighborhood could look like. And that brainchild was Helm Place…”
Now, the 88 town-house community is keeping crime out, while also not forcing out and moving the people who originally lived in the area.
“The biggest thing is you give a sense of hope and dignity to the persons living in the homes. They have a sense of pride in the neighborhood and want to make sure it is protected,” Rhoades says. “And when you recognize there is a stronger secure neighborhood it becomes less prone to be attacked by other forces.”