Habitat kicks off 2020 with high expectations

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After a successful 2019, during which Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury built 11 homes and fulfilled what seemed to be an impossible dream for almost a dozen families, organization members are looking forward to fulfilling even more dreams this year.  

Since 1992 the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate has provided safe, affordable houses for 251 families and a means for those families to become a stronger and also become self-reliant members of the community. According to Jennee Galland, vice president of communications, the group plans to build 16 houses in 2020. 

Becket Moore, affiliate president and CEO, says that volunteers are the backbone of the program. During a building project, between 20 and 25 men and women show up each Saturday and Tuesday to pound nails, lug lumber, put up walls, paint, dig holes, spread dirt, plant grass and flowers and more. 

“This is an amazing organization that provides so much compassion and attracts so many people,” Moore said. 

Habitat serves families that work in local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, the service industry and the like.   

 “There seems to be a misconception with some people,” she said. “We don’t give homes away. Habitat for Humanity sells the home with an affordable mortgage.” 

The mortgage for a Habitat home is made affordable through material and contractor sponsorships, financial and in-kind donations and volunteer labor. Applicants must demonstrate that they have the ability to pay a mortgage, have a need for adequate housing and are willing to partner through the homeownership process.  

To help new homeowners succeed, Habitat requires applicants to attend homeowner classes and budget coaching. They also are required to provide “sweat equity” by being involved in actually building their home and other Habitat homes.  

“We want our future homeowners to have the tools to succeed in homeownership,” Galland said.  

One of the homes built by Habitat volunteers this past year was purchased by Williamson County Deputy Kent Childress, who was injured while making an arrest, and his wife, Gena, a retired teacher who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis four years ago. 

According to Galland, their Habitat home is a blessing that provides not only an affordable mortgage, but it also was constructed to meet the future accessibility needs. 

“We built the house so they can “age in place” as her MS progresses,” Galland added. 

Gena Childress said that the modifications would have cost the couple thousands of dollars if they would have had to make them themselves.

“It’s a great blessing,” she said  

Since 1992, 93% of the homes built are still owned and occupied by the original homeowner. 

For more information about a Habitat home or an application go to www.hfhwm.org/home or call 615-690-8090. 

Habitat also offers a home repair program for homeowners who are having a hard time keeping up with repairs on their homes, which do not have to be Habitat homes.  

The program provides major repairs at a discounted rate to keep a homeowner safe and warm and avoid having to leave the home. Services include repairing an unsafe roof or floor, resolving HVAC issues, eliminating electrical and plumbing hazards, addressing accessibility needs, interior and exterior maintenance and weatherization. Check the website or call the office for more information. 

“We are really excited for the future and how we can better serve our community,” Galland said. “We welcome anyone who wants to get involved.” 

Construction on the ninth Women Build project will begin in April. For volunteer or sponsor opportunities on this and other builds, contact Kota Ardoin, development and volunteer manager, at 615-550-5619. 

Carole Robinson may be contacted at crobinson@williamsonherald.com.

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