September 29, 2014
On September 26, Habitat for Humanity celebrated the beginning of its 4000th house built in the State of Tennessee with a wall raising ceremony. Over 50 supporters came from all over the State to mark this important milestone, including Franklin Mayor Ken Moore, Williamson County Mayor Rogers Anderson, and members of several Tennessee Habitat for Humanity affiliates.
The home is being built by host affiliate Habitat for Humanity of Williamson and Maury Counties for Harold Allen, a local Vietnam Veteran.
Tennessee consists of 50 Habitat affiliates that serve 62 counties. Each Habitat affiliate is a grassroots organization; locally operated by a board of directors from their community; every affiliate is financially self-sustaining and all affiliates function under the umbrella of Habitat for Humanity International.
Habitat Williamson-Maury is also proudly celebrating their 20 year anniversary. The Franklin-based affiliate has built 147 homes serving over 550 children and adults in an area of the State where affordable housing is harder and harder to find. “Habitat can only build homes through the generosity of sponsorship support and the volunteer participation of individuals, churches, businesses, companies, and civic groups. Each partnership creates a powerful ripple effect”, explained Becket Moore, executive director of Habitat Williamson-Maury, “We are honored to host this landmark build, which is made all the more special by serving Vietnam Veteran Harold Allen.”
Harold Allen, a native of Franklin, graduated with the last segregated senior class from Natchez High School, which is now Franklin High. Allen was raised by his grandmother along with his three sisters and one brother. Neither his parents, nor his grandparents, were homeowners. However, Allen has always held onto the American Dream of homeownership.
Life after active duty has been difficult for Allen. He has two artificial hips, has endured three strokes, and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Nonetheless, he focuses on his blessings and never lets his challenges affect his efforts to give back. Allen enjoys helping local charities and is also active at Limestone Missionary Baptist Church in Franklin.
“Celebrating this milestone with Vietnam Veteran Harold Allen is truly an honor,” said Colleen Dudley, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee, “Mr. Allen will soon have his first mortgage loan to repay, which I know will make him very proud as it does all who will witness this rewarding accomplishment in his life.”
Habitat sells homes to the partner family at cost and provides them with a 0% mortgage while ensuring their housing costs do not exceed 30% of their income. Habitat families are partners; they invest “sweat equity” hours by helping with construction and attend mandatory homeowner counseling classes to prepare them for homeownership. Families are selected based on their level of need, willingness to partner in the Habitat program, and their ability to pay a mortgage. Homeowner mortgage payments are recycled through a “Fund for Humanity,” which is used to build even more homes.
Sponsors of the 4000th house build are Capella Healthcare, Eco-Energy, The National Funeral Directors Association, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Puckett’s Restaurants, Sony Music, UL, and Tennessee Housing Development Agency.
Franklin-based Eco-Energy has graciously sponsored two-thirds of the build. “At Eco-Energy, we believe in empowering our people to make a difference not just in business, but in the environment and in our communities,” explains the company’s President and CEO Chad Martin. “We are proud to support Habitat for Humanity and we are honored to work with Mr. Allen on his new home in Franklin. We appreciate the sacrifice made by Mr. Allen and all United States Military Veterans that fight for the great freedoms we get to enjoy in Williamson County.”
“The FHLBank is proud of its longstanding partnership with Tennessee Habitat for Humanity and its affiliates,” said Damon Allen, Senior Vice President & Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. “Since the inception of the Affordable Housing Program in 1990, the FHLBank and its member financial institutions have provided almost $17 million in subsidy towards the construction of over 1,500 of the 4,000 Habitat homes built in Tennessee. We look forward to continuing this partnership well into the future.”
“THDA is proud to support the work of Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Tennessee and proud to have contributed to this milestone accomplishment of 4000 houses built, 4000 families assisted,” said Ralph M. Perrey, THDA executive director. “THDA provides grant support through its Housing Trust Fund to help affiliates lower construction costs, and many Habitat families use THDA New Start loans to make their home even more affordable.”
Harold Allen can’t wait to get to get to work on the build site and has big plans for his new home. He envisions planting flowers and vegetables in his future garden and spending time with his adult children. He wants it to be a haven of peace and a place where friends and family can share in his joy.
Harold’s gratitude is boundless. “Thank you for fulfilling my dream of owning a home. I thank God for sending an angel. You have really touched my heart – not only for sponsoring my home, but for all of the other families that are blessed with the homes that you build.”
The home’s dedication will be will be on Veterans Day, November 11th at 1:00 p.m. For more photos, click here.