‘Homeownership is such an important gift’: Holston Habitat for Humanity dedicates home to mother, son

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Holston Habitat for Humanity is dedicating a home in Johnson City this weekend , marking the 310th family served by the organization since it was founded in 1985.

This home will be dedicated to Sarah and her son Tyrese. Sarah bought the home through Holston Habitat’s homeownership program. The program offers people and families with limited finances and housing needs a chance to buy their own homes.

“If you’ve got a roof over your head, and a solid foundation under your feet, then that’s one less thing you have to worry about,” said Laura Kelly, Executive Director Holston Habitat for Humanity. “You can go to work, you can pay for your medication, you can get a reliable vehicle. We really believe that a home is one of the ways that we can bring strength, stability, and self-reliance to the Holston Habitat homeowners.”

Home buyers like Sarah put in a lot of volunteer work, take homebuyer education classes and save for closing costs prior to buying the home.

“She went through Holston habitats curriculum, said Kelly. “That means that she’s learning how to balance her budget, and she’s learning how to maintain her home. You know what to expect after six months, one year, or 10 years of being a homeowner.”

The buyers make affordable monthly mortgage payments, which go back into the program to help others.

Under the guidance of site supervisor, Nicola Aloisio, Sarah and other volunteers put in more than 2,000 construction hours toward building the home.

“She was swinging a hammer right here and helping to put up doors and painting her own home,” said Kelly. “She helped to build other houses for families in the program. So, there’s really just this great sense of community that Sarah has felt through becoming a Habitat homeowner.”

Homebuyers can qualify for the program in a variety of ways by demonstrating, willingness to partner and the ability to pay for the home.

“Demonstration of need, which could be either they are financially burdened by their current housing situation, or their structure no longer meets their need, or they’ve outgrown it, or it’s unsafe,” said Kelly. “You’ve got to be willing to participate in the full program of homeownership. Lastly, is the ability to pay. We need to qualify families who can pay their mortgage on a monthly basis because every payment that we receive from family and our program goes towards helping to build the next house.”

Sponsors for this build include Nexstar Charitable Foundation through WJHL, the Housing Trust Fund in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency.

Sarah and Tyrese will be presented with their keys, a quilt, and a bible at their home dedication Saturday, Nov. 13. Sarah will also be given a gift card to the Habitat Restore to help her furnish her home. The celebration begins at 10 a.m. The public is invited to attend.

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