Pre-school teacher buys the home she helped to build through Habitat’s Homeownership Program

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Pre-school teacher buys the home she helped to build through Habitat’s Homeownership Program

October 13, 2018

Kathlene gives an interview to News Channel 2.Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury (HFHWM) held two home dedications on Saturday, October 13, 2018 in Columbia, TN. Sponsors, family, friends, and volunteers were on hand to celebrate the hard work of Kennita Black and Kathlene Jones, two Columbia natives who have worked alongside volunteers to build their homes over the ten weeks.

Kathlene Jones was born and raised in Columbia, TN and graduated from Central High. After high school, she completed an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education at Columbia State Community College and later completed a B.S. of Psychology degree at Martin Methodist College.

Kathlene currently works for the South Central Human Resource Agency as a pre‐school teacher. For 24 years, Ms. Jones lived in a mobile home that, over time, began to literally fall apart.

“The heat and air had both stopped working, and many nights I worked on lesson plans in the cold or the suffocating heat,” she recalls. “At one point, the water heater fell through the floorboards due to rotting. Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury could not have approved my application at a better time. I did not know what I was going to do and I am beyond grateful.”

Kennita Black works as a caregiver at Poplar Estates Senior Living Community in Columbia and spends her time off focused on her daughters: 10-year-old Ja’Kireya, 9-year-old Ramiya, and 4-year-old A’Keliona. She feels at home in her hometown of Columbia and wants to build on that for her daughters.

“I want people to know that I am a hard worker and I do the very best that I can for my family. My mother raised my four sisters and me by herself and struggled to provide for us. I want my girls to have more than I had growing up. I want them to feel safe, secure, and to know that there is a good future ahead for them. Thank you to my sponsors for making my dreams come true.”

Pastor Marcus Duke blesses Kennita's home.The $70,000 needed to fund the “bricks and sticks” of each home was funded by 12 community partners: Community Health Services, Fifth Third Bank, First Farmers & Merchants Bank, Fourth Ave. Church of Christ, Franklin Christian ChurchHarpeth Presbyterian Church, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, St. Catherine Catholic Church, St. Peters’s Episcopal Church, St. Philip Catholic Church, St. Philip Knights of Columbus, and Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).

Funding for the $500,000 state-wide THDA grant came from the Tennessee Housing Trust Fund (THTF), which receives no state tax dollars but is instead funded by revenue from THDA’s mortgage loan program. Since 2006, THDA has provided more than $75 million in THTF grants.

In November, HFHWM will close on and sell the homes with affordable mortgages to Black and Jones.

For additional information on our Homeownership Program or to get involved as a donor or volunteer, please contact Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury at 615-690-8090 or visit

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