Jada’s Journey -In Progress

Miracles STILL happen! Just ask Jada. The single mother of two preschoolers, Q’Mari and Q’Shiah, relies heavily upon her family to help her navigate working full time, continuing her college education and pursuing her dream of homeownership. It was Jada’s mother who encouraged her to consider Habitat. Her father added to the excitement by saying he could purchase property to donate to Habitat on which to build her home. There was just one tiny problem: Jada and her parents wanted her to live in the Highway 58 area to be near her support system. But, Habitat does not typically build homes in this section of town. Then, the miracle happened.

Jada’s mother saw an auction sign for a piece of property in the family’s desired location. The lot was perfect! It was right around the corner from Jada’s aunt, and not too far from her grandmother. “My mama actually took the sign down because she didn’t want anyone else to get it!” Jada laughed. In the end, her dad placed the winning bid which was just slightly over the max he was prepared to spend!

“There was this one contractor that bided $35,000 on one property, and he didn’t even win,” Jada said. This same contractor also had his eye on “her” lot. While the cost of Jada’s property was very reasonable, she said it was a miracle that this contractor stopped bidding when he did. “My mama called me from the courtroom, whispering, ‘We won! We won!’ ’’ Once the auction sale was official, Jada celebrated her birthday by taking pictures on the site of her future Habitat home.

Jada, who currently lives near Highway 58 with her mother, sister and children, said she can’t wait to experience the joys of homeownership for herself. When she purchases her house, it will be the first time she’s ever lived on her own.

“I’m looking forward to having my own kitchen to cook. This may sound crazy, but I’m looking for-ward to having my own floor to clean and my own

bills to pay,” she said. “And, I’m looking forward to my kids having their own backyard to be able to play.”

With the soaring costs of rental housing, Jada saw Habitat as the best option for her family.

“I thought about apartments, but they were (expensive). I want-ed to do something that would fit into my budget with two young kids,” she explained.

Jada admits that juggling everything she has on her plate – earning 350 sweat equity hours and saving for her closing costs, on top of school, work and mother-hood – gets trying at times. “The challenging part is making sure I come in to Habitat each week. Some-times, I lose motivation and I want to give up,” she confessed. “But the best part is having yall (Habitat staff) to motivate me. I know it’ll all be worth it when I get my house.” It most definitely will!

 

Sammy and Lucy – Home Builder’s Blitz

To earn a living for his family, Sammy cleaned upholstered furniture in other people’s homes in his native Nairobi, Kenya for $30 per day. He would start at 8 a.m., take a 30-minute lunch break, and then get off work at 6 or 7 at night. He and his wife, Lucy, along with their sons, David and Onesmus, lived in a modest, two bedroom brick house in Kenya’s capital where they paid $70 a month for rent. Lucy stayed home and took care of the house. Their adult sons shared a bedroom – and still do to this day.

“That is why we had to come (to the Unites States) to try to get better opportunities for jobs,” Sammy said, as well as seek safe, decent and affordable housing.

Sammy and his family took part in the U.S. Green Card Card Lottery Program for 18 years in hopes of coming to America. “If you are lucky, you are selected and get a chance to come here. They select more than 1,000 (Kenyans) a year to come all over the United States.”

He and Lucy had heard about the Scenic City from a Kenyan friend who had attended college here. The friend eventually introduced the couple to a Chattanoogan who would later become their “Host Family.”  Sammy and Lucy were blessed as their family was finally  selected from the online lottery. And although they’d known each other since childhood through their affiliation with a Protestant church in Kenya, they were married in May 2014 and moved here one month later. And through the generosity of a local benefactor, their sons followed suit that September. (Sammy’s first wife and mother of his sons had previously passed away.)

“We were trying to come here. We had heard the United States was a very powerful country,” Lucy said. She and Sammy agreed that making the transition to living and working here was a smooth one. “We had so many people help us with everything – from utensils for the kitchen to mattresses and beds – everything! We have so much!” said Lucy, who works as a laborer for Pilgrim’s Pride.

The couple’s Host Family also assisted them with rental housing. They soon learned about Habitat from a parent of a former student at Bright School where Sammy works as a janitor. And after living here one year, they applied for the program and were accepted in the fall of 2015.  “We’ve been telling people about Habitat so much,” Lucy said. “I try to tell them how they can buy their house. If you don’t have a lot of money, Habitat is a good project.”

Sammy, who is known on the construction jobsites for his strong work ethic, said he’s grateful that his sons, ages 21 and 19, will soon have separate bedrooms. His eldest is studying at Chattanooga State to become an electrical engineer while his younger son, who’s undecided about his major, also attends the technical college. With their own space, Sammy said they will be able to better focus on their studies.

Truly, home is where the heart is and this family is almost home!

Funding provided by:

Trust Construction

Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough

 Collier Construction

City of Chattanooga

Department of Economic and Community Development

Andy Berke. Mayor

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fanetta – Hamico Foundation – Completed

Stability is something that Fanetta craved for herself, but more so for her 6-year-old son, Thaddius. When she was a child living with her mother and two sisters, the family often moved around from one rental dwelling to another. “The last thing I want to do is have him bouncing like I was bouncing because I hated that,” she said.

And while those “bouncing” days are a thing of the past, Fanetta’s looking forward to settling down for quite a while in her new Habitat home. Her house is being sponsored in part by Hamico Foundation. and will be located in the historic Glass Farm District.

A former co-worker told Fanetta about Habitat. And since becoming a Partner Family, she said her journey toward homeownership has been a rewarding one – especially when construction started on her house. “I really enjoyed pulling up my walls. To visually see that,” she said. “They unload the walls off the truck and then they bring them out and lay them in place. Putting those walls up really made my day! It put things in perspective.”

Fanetta was also fascinated to see longtime Habitat volunteer Diane Barnes lead her wall-raising effort. Diane and her husband, Don, have actually led thousands of volunteers in building walls for all of the Affiliate’s homes for some 20-plus years. Fanetta said at one point during her wall raising, someone suggested Diane had been a little “off” on one of her measurements. “Diane said,

Absolutely not!’,” Fanetta chuckled. “To me, it just looked like a bunch of wood pieces lying there, but to her (Diane), she could see it (the finished product) and she knew exactly where everything would go.”  While some folks get excited about the smell of a new car, Fanetta said, “I’m looking forward to smelling the fresh aroma of a new home!” These days, she’s been mulling over decorating ideas, and  pondering all of her color options.

A full-time caregiver at the Helen Ross McNabb Center, Fanetta said she’s not exactly sure what her future holds but trusts it will be great. She’d like to continue her college education once she and Thaddius have settled into their new place.  “I’m just asking the Lord to show me what it is You would have me to do in life. I need that insight sometimes from the Lord so I can make that final decision and know I’m making the right decision.”

So far, Fanetta’s been traveling down the right path and the best is yet to come!

Funding provided by:

Hamico Foundation

City of Chattanooga

Department of Economic and Community Development

Andy Berke. Mayor

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fanetta was also fascinated to see longtime Habitat               volunteer Diane Barnes lead her wall-raising effort. Diane and her husband, Don, have actually led thousands of volunteers in building walls for all of the Affiliate’s homes for some 20-plus years. Fanetta said at one point during her wall raising, someone suggested Diane had been a little “off” on one of her measurements. “Diane said, ‘Absolutely not!,’ ’’ Fanetta chuckled. “To me, it just looked like

 

 

 

Ashley – Women Build House – Completed

When Ashley first applied for Habitat’s homeownership program, she and her children, LonDeon & Cherish, were living in a cramped, two-bedroom duplex where the landlord was painstakingly slow in making much-needed repairs. In fact, Ashley and her boyfriend, Deon, had to tackle projects like painting, pressure-washing and removing a fallen tree themselves. “It was bad,” she said. “It was just time for me to do something better.”

Ashley and her children have since moved from this place. And after renting all of her life, she’s truly grateful for the opportunity to become a proud homeowner.

“This is one of the best things to ever happen to me in my life! This, and my kids,” she said. “I’m just happy. The kids are happy, We’re all happy!”

Ashley and Deon have been a couple since their early teens. She said Deon’s been a huge support during her Habitat experience – often helping her earn her required 350 “sweat equity” hours. “He wouldn’t let me give up, she said.

Giving up is something that Ashley contemplated along her journey toward homeownership. At one point, she was faced with some old financial obligations that seemed like they would derail her chances of buying her first home. But, she persevered, worked with Habitat’s mortgage administrator and was able to face those challenges head on. “If it hadn’t been for Habitat, she wouldn’t have gotten it situated so fast,” Deon chimed in.

Ashley added that she’s learned a lot of valuable lessons through Habitat’s homeowner education curriculum. Twenty different classes are taught by volunteers on topics like budgeting,  maintaining a clean/healthy house, understanding credit reports and estate planning. “I didn’t start out knowing a lot about becoming a homeowner,” Ashley confessed. “So, I looked forward to coming to the classes to learn (how to care) for our home. I especially liked learning how to make cleaning products that are safe for kids. ”

Ashley even overcame her fear of ladders while helping to paint another Partner Family’s house. “I went all the way up there!” she said.  Ashley’s expected to move into her Habitat home this summer. Her house is considered a “Women Build” project because it is being largely funded and constructed by women. “When I first applied, I didn’t think I was going to be approved. I had already tried Section 8 and was denied twice,” Ashley said. But with lots of encouragement and a fighting spirit, she never gave up. “Habitat showed us there are still good people in the world,” Deon said, with Ashley nodding in agreement. The two are also planning their wedding, which they hope will happen in 2018. “Right now, I’m just looking forward to having more space and being able to sit on my front porch without being scared and jumpy. Just being able to sit on my front porch and watch the kids play.” What a wonderful blessing!

 

2017 Women Build House

Funding provided by:

Better Homes and Gardens Realty Signature Brokers

City of Chattanooga

Department of Economic and Community Development

Andy Berke. Mayor

Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

 

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

 

 

 

Latoya – Publix – Completed

The year 2017 is bound to be a special one for LaToya. The single mother of two sons and a daughter is looking forward to becoming the first person in her immediate family to experience homeownership. She’s also looking forward to earning her GED this year. “If I can get this house and walk across that stage (to graduate), this will be a very blessed year for me,” she said.

Describing herself as a very independent woman, LaToya said she does whatever it takes to see that the needs of her children- Abram, LaTaivus and Jade – are always met. She first became a mother at age 18, which is also when she moved out of her parents’ house. She settled into an apartment at a local public housing development. After the birth of her second son, she moved back in with her folks for awhile but eventually ventured out on her own again. LaToya was later accepted into the federally funded  Section 8 rental housing program. Through Section 8, she has mainly lived in rental homes in the East Lake area that have not always been well-maintained. LaToya said her current house is poorly insulated, and she’s seen her share of sky-high electric bills. So, she’s excited about purchasing an energy-efficient house that will allow her to keep more money in her pockets. Her Habitat home is being sponsored by Publix Super Markets Charities, a first for the local grocery chain.

I’m also looking forward to the kids having their own rooms, and not having to worry about my rent going up and down,” she said, as rent for Section 8  clients can fluctuate based on changes in income and other factors. LaToya, who has worked at Kenco Logistics for about a decade, heard about Habitat from a persistent co-worker whose sister had  purchased a home. “She pushed me for almost five years to apply,” she laughed. “It was just going in one ear and out the other.” But LaToya said she’s glad she decided to give Habitat a try. “I’ve enjoyed experiencing new things and getting to know new people,” she said – especially the volunteers. “People you don’t even know, from different walks of life, giving their time. They don’t have to do that, but they do.” And, it’s largely because of the generosity of others that this homeownership ministry continues to thrive!

Funding Provided By:

Publix Super Markets Charities

 

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah – City of Chattanooga & Johnson Family Foundation – Completed

Deborah can recall paying $250 for an electric bill while living in a drafty, poorly insulated apartment. And in recent years, shelling out $750-plus for rent has pretty much been the norm. So when her McKee Foods co-worker and Habitat homeowner, Angela, told her about the program, she considered it a golden opportunity to drastically cut her living expenses and become a homeowner at the same time. “My rent has always been very high,” she explained. “And when you rent, it’s like you’re giving money away to someone else. I just wanted to own my own home again.”

A single mother to Avery, Ariel and Ayanna, Deborah is no stranger to homeownership. She and her five siblings grew up in Newburn, Ala., where her mother, a widower, lived in a home owned by her in-laws. As a young adult, she rented for several years but also briefly owned a house with her ex-husband. She knows the sense of pride, security and freedom homeownership brings. Yet after her divorce, Deborah and her children returned to that vicious cycle of renting. But, thanks to Habitat, those days are coming to an end. And Deborah said she’s looking forward to easing her financial load once she closes on her new house in spring 2017.

When asked what else she’s looking forward to about purchasing a home, Deborah said, “I can go on and on about that! I like knowing that this (house) will eventually be mine. I like having somewhere for my siblings and other  family members to come and get together. And, it’s something I can leave to my kids.” Now that she’s a grandmother to a toddler, she’s also excited about having a backyard where her grandson can play.  These days, Deborah is thinking more and more about the future. As she approaches her 20th anniversary at McKee in a few years, she said she’d like to explore other career paths. “I don’t know. I just want to try something different. I might even become a massage therapist!” For this determined, hard-working mother, the sky’s the limit!

The sky’s the limit for Deborah, and the best is yet to come!

Funding Provided By:

City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development,

Andy Berke, Mayor

Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee

George R. Johnson Family Foundation

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angel – City of Chattanooga – HFH of TN – THDA – Complete

IMG_5844Angel describes herself as different from most members of her family. She’s a bit more reserved, very protective of her small circle of friends, and she’s been told she doesn’t show a lot of emotion. But when it comes to her quest to become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, a different side of Angel emerges.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself. This (process) has torn me down,” she said as she wiped away tears from her eyes. “I’ve finally made it to something that I always wanted.”

To Angel, true success meant graduating college, getting married, buying a house and then havinga baby. But that wasn’t the way things turned out for her as she had her only child, Nelan, at age 18.             Her dream of becoming a medical assistant was put on hold. She quit college, moved into public housing, and landed a job in child care in order to be closer to her son.

“Now that I’m getting my house, I plan to go back to school and maybe get married,” she laughed. “It’s turned around, but at least one of the things I wanted is coming to pass.”

Life has had its share of challenges for Angel, who earned her nickname because she was born close to Christmas. She, her mother and older sister lived in various rental housing until her mother purchased a Habitat home when Angel was in high school.

“Watching my mother raise us as a single mom, and she was able to get a Habitat home, that inspired me. Habitat was more beneficial for me in more ways than I thought. I learned a lot about debt and credit. I’ve learned a lot about patience, too. It also helped me to be more of a ‘people person’ ”

Angel didn’t meet her biological father until right around the time she became a Habitat Partner Family in 2014.

Habitat is one of the bonding opportunities that has helped her and her dad make up for lost time. And when Nelan came along in 2010, Angel was determined to provide a better way of life for her family. She said that driving force, coupled with her faith in God, eventually led her to Habitat. “I did want to give up,” she admits, “but I kept thinking and thinking that this (homeownership) is something I deserve.” And, it will soon be another goal Angel can check off her “success” list!

Funding Provided By:

City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development,

Andy Berke, Mayor

Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee

Tennessee Housing Development Agency

 

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

Latoya – City of Chattanooga – HFH of TN – THDA- Completed

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes our pain can give us purpose. Just ask LaToya.  In 2011, she started a new job and also a new lease on life as a wife! She met her husband through a relative after having been single for quite a while. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever find love, but then it happened. She became a bride. She also became pregnant.  And when she was seven months along with her second son, Terrance, something life-changing happened. Her husband went to prison.

“He got out when Terrance was three. He was killed seven months later on Terrance’s fourth birthday,” she said. “But within those seven months, they bonded. He knows his dad. He remembers his dad, and I don’t think he’ll ever forget him.”

While LaToya has experienced the unimaginable pain of having a loved one die in such a horrific way, she has also found her purpose: to become a homeowner. She is determined to provide the best life possible for Terrance and her oldest son, JaTorrey.

LaToya grew up in a loving home with her mother, twin sister and two younger brothers. The family lived in various rental properties in Alton Park. She and her twin regularly visited their father on the weekends. They remain a close-knit family today. Yet, there is one goal none of those closest to LaToya has ever achieved. “No one in my immediate family is a homeowner. I wanted to change that,” she said.

Another Habitat Partner named Sherri encouraged her to apply for the program. LaToya said her most rewarding experience thus far has been the various resources and relationships she’s discovered – including meeting her Habitat “Buddy,” Jennifer Whitaker. Jennifer serves on Habitat’s Board of Directors, and is a member of the Family Support Committee. This Committee has a “Buddy” system where Committee members are paired with Partner Families as another layer of support as they navigate their way toward homeownership. Jennifer also experienced the sudden passing of a loved one, and referred LaToya to an agency where her family could receive grief counseling. “Without her, I would have never gone that route,” she said. “I really appreciate the program for having me come in contact with her.”

Both of LaToya’s sons are thriving. JaTorrey is an Honor Roll student, member of the Student Council and plays several sports. He even portrayed President Barack Obama in his school’s Black History program. Terrance is finding his way as well. He is in preschool now, and LaToya thinks he will soon     follow in his big brother’s footsteps when it comes to athletics. The entire family is excited about moving into their new Habitat home before the end of 2016. Their house will be located on the up-and-coming Southside – not too far from the community where LaToya has lived most of her life.

“It’s something I can call my own,” she said of her future home. “I won’t have to share a foundation or a wall with a neighbor. Me and my kids will be able to have our own space. That’s what I’m looking forward to!”

Funding Provided By:

City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development,

Andy Berke, Mayor

Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee

Tennessee Housing Development Agency

 

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

Senga Lucie – City of Chattanooga – HFH of TN – THDA- Completed

sengaSenga Lucie’s life has had a lot of twists and turns that ultimately led her to the doorsteps of Habitat for Humanity. She grew up in the Congo, Africa, with her parents and five siblings. But in 1996, a brutal war in her homeland tragically claimed the lives of her father and two of her brothers. The rest of the family was forced to relocate to neighboring Tanzania.

Life in Tanzania was hard. Senga said she lived in an overcrowded, disease-infested refugee camp. Her family worked long hours as gardeners, growing beans and sweet potatoes. “But they no give you money,” she explained.

A lot of people died from Malaria. People died  because there was no food and no medicine. The water was dirty. If you got sick, you died.”

Senga lived her life the best she could, and went on to get married. Then, over time, the government  began closing refugee camps. The United Nations helped resettle the displaced families, which led Senga and her husband to the Scenic City. Incredibly, Senga said they didn’t realize they were coming to Chattanooga – let alone to America. They were             under the impression they were moving to Uganda. “You feel very scared because they no tell you. They surprise you. You don’t know about America,” she said.

But once Senga and her husband arrived here, she said they were greeted warmly by Bridge Refugee Services and a local church who would help them secure housing, jobs and other basic necessities.

Senga’s marriage later ended in divorce. Then, another life-altering event occurred. Her older sister had died from Malaria several years earlier. She left behind a one-year-old daughter, Uwimana, who grew up in an African orphanage. But when her niece was 18 years old, Senga said the Lord worked a miracle and brought her to Chattanooga!

With assistance from the American Red Cross, Senga was reunited with Uwimana – the niece whom she only remembered as a  baby. “I said, ‘O.K. I must take care of her.’ Everything I do is for her. I thank God for her.”

Senga has no children of her own, but wanted to provide a stable home for Uwimana. She heard about Habitat from several friends. One of them, Mokhtar Abo, encouraged her to apply. “Abo said, ‘Sister, come to my house. It’s a beautiful house! You can have one, too!’ ”

Through Habitat, Senga said she’s learned a lot about how to care for her future home. She looks forward to sharing her new house with Uwimana, who now attends Chattanooga State. Senga also looks forward to having an affordable mortgage payment. Once she’s settled into her home, she hopes to secure her GED and a higher-paying job. “When I have my Habitat house, I’ll be good.”

 

Funding Provided By:

City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development,

Andy Berke, Mayor

Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee

Tennessee Housing Development Agency

 

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks

 

Alice Smith – City of Chattanooga – Completed

dddddAlice Smith always thought you had to have young children in order to apply for Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program. That was until her co-worker at Alexian Brothers Community Services: PACE told her otherwise.
“I had heard about Habitat and saw some advertisements on TV. And I knew President Jimmy Carter was a part of it. One of my brothers also told me I should apply,” said Ms. Alice, as her Habitat Family affectionately calls her. “Then one day my coworker, LaKisha Brown, said she was coming to Habitat to pay her mortgage. She told me I should apply, and that she was bringing me back an application.”

Having rented an apartment in the same complex for more than 20 years, Ms. Alice was a little leery about completing the application. But, she did and was eventually approved by the Habitat Board of Directors.

“I didn’t expect to be selected. I always wanted to own a home, but I didn’t think I could financially,” she said. Ms. Alice had been a lifelong renter since childhood when she lived with her parents and three siblings. “I dreamed about having a home and being able to look out the window in my kitchen. I always wanted a weeping willow in my backyard.”

That weeping willow is well within reach, along with a spacious front porch and flower bed she plans to have at her new home located in The Villages at Alton Park. Yet, this road to homeownership hasn’t exactly been a bed of roses for Ms. Alice. She has managed to juggle a full-time job as a dietary aide (she’s responsible for preparing the desserts); perform more than 300 hundred sweat equity hours; and help regularly care for her elderly mother, who turns 97 in September 2015. “Anything worth having, you’ll make the sacrifice for,” said Ms. Alice, who knows something about sacrifice since she primarily raised her three sons alone after her divorce.

Also a grandmother of four, Ms. Alice confessed she hasn’t always followed through with accomplishing her goals. But working alongside such dedicated volunteers and her much-younger Partner Family peers has inspired her not to give up.
“I’ve started projects and stopped, but this was one thing I was determined to finish,” she said. “I prayed about it and asked the Lord to give me the strength and courage to go through with this until the finish. He has so far, and I know He’ll see me the rest of the way. I have enjoyed the journey.”
And so has Habitat!

“The sweat equity piece is very important. To have input makes you take pride in your home. You have a sense of love and a sense of community. I have enjoyed the journey.”

Funding Provided By:

City of Chattanooga, Office of Economic and Community Development,

Andy Berke, Mayor

Additional funding, support, Services or Materials provided by:

Chattanooga Area Volunteers

Daughters of the American Revolution, Chief John Ross Chapter

DOW Chemicals

The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter

The HART Gallery

Square D

State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents

St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

Two Men and a Truck

Valspar Paint

Whirlpool Corporation

Yale Locks