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
The Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Chattanooga Chapter
The HART Gallery
State Farm Insurance -Hamilton Co. Agents
St. Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church
Two Men and a Truck