On Thursday, April 27, Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury dedicated three new affordable homes to local families in need. The homes are in the Overlook Subdivision in Columbia, behind Spring Hill High School. These are the first three homes of five that the Habitat affiliate will build or rehab this spring by partnering with local churches, civic groups, businesses, and the Tennessee Housing Development Agency New Start Loan Program.
This spring marks the 17th year students from Williamson County high schools have banded together to fund and build a home with Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury. More than 200 students from seven high schools joined Habitat’s construction team, future homeowners, and community volunteers to help build a home for single mother Kayla White and her son, Javin (8).
Kayla works for the Drury Plaza Hotel in Franklin. She travels 60 miles a day to work and lives in an area that she describes as “less than optimum” for her son’s upbringing. Ms. White experienced homelessness as a young girl, so having a stable home for Javin has great meaning to her. “My mother and I would have to wander all night, not knowing where we would lay our heads. Thanks to the goodness of a stranger, we got back on our feet. Someone gave us a hand up, much as Habitat is doing now. I am so grateful to my sponsors for believing in me. I want to give them a big hug, look them in the eyes, and say thank you.”
Kayla’s future neighbor Sharniece Rayford is also a single parent who joined the Habitat Homeownership program to obtain the strength, stability, and self-reliance that an affordable home provides. After attending Mt. Pleasant High School, Sharniece received her Certificate in Medical Assisting from Fortis Institute. Currently, she works as a certified medical assistant at Heritage Women’s Center in Franklin and is taking classes at Columbia State University to become a registered nurse.
The $70,000 sponsorship needed for the “bricks and sticks” of her home were jointly sponsored by Publix and Bridgestone. This is the second year Publix has sponsored a HFHWM home, but a first-time partnership for Bridgestone.
“Bridgestone is proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury for such a worthwhile endeavor,” notes Brian Cunningham, Vice President of Sales & Service for Bridgestone Americas. “Bridgestone’s teammates are committed to helping in our communities and assisting with this home build enabled us to do just that. It is one small way that Bridgestone can give back.”
Just down the street, Sedric McFall’s home was built by 29 local homebuilders and contractors during HFHWM’s 6th annual Home Builders Blitz.
Habitat’s Builders Blitz is a partnership between Habitat affiliates and the building community to build and renovate homes across the United States, helping to fulfill Habitat’s vision of “a world where everyone has a decent place to live.” This type of build began in 2006 and has resulted in more than 1,700 safe, affordable homes across the country. Builders and Habitat affiliates work closely to organize all aspects of building, including securing subcontractors and suppliers, fundraising, and seeking donations of materials.
Huskey Truss and Building Supply has partnered with Habitat Williamson-Maury for more than 10 years and has participated in the Home Builders Blitz since 2009. President Jim Huskey explains what keeps their commitment strong. “We know Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury does a great job by not only offering quality built homes, but homes that are in keeping with the aesthetics of the surrounding communities and trends in today’s new construction. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with Habitat for Humanity to help make homeownership possible for families who wouldn’t have that chance otherwise.”
Ms. McFall lives with her parents and three-year-old son, Nehemiah, in Columbia and has worked at APCOM in Franklin for the past three years. Although her parents own their home, it is much too small for a family of four and is in serious need of repairs. Sedric has always wanted a place of her own, but has been unable to find an apartment she could afford to rent. Studies show that rental costs, as well as mortgages, continue to climb rapidly in the Greater Nashville area. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Williamson County was more than $1200 per month in 2016, making it increasingly difficult for families to secure affordable housing.
“My parents taught me the value of homeownership and how to save my money,” McCall explains. “I most look forward to having our own space where we can celebrate special occasions with our loved ones. I cannot express how excited I am and how grateful I feel to those who are helping make this happen for me and my son.”
For additional information on Habitat’s Homeownership Program or Critical Repair Program or to get involved as a donor or volunteer, please contact Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury at 615-690-8090 or visit www.hfhwm.org.