December 13, 2018
Columbia woman has a new home thanks to local supporters
A Columbia woman has a new roof over her family’s head thanks to Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury and a group of local sponsors.
Maria Ayala Munoz, who is purchasing the home through the nonprofit’s affordable-mortgage program, grew up in LaPiedad Michoacan, Mexico, and came to the United States with her parents and brother in 1995.
“I am so grateful to live in this beautiful place,” Munoz said. “We worked very hard to build a good life here, and I raised my children to work and study hard.”
The project was made possible by a group of local community partners, who have contributed $70,000 toward the home. They are Columbia Power and Water Systems, CESO, Milliken, Rotary Clubs of Williamson County and Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).
“Working with Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for the CPWS team,” CPWS Executive Director Scott Dahlstrom said. “We are proud to be an integral part of this community, and thrilled to have played a role in helping Maria and her family.”
This year marks the first time Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury partnered with Columbia Power and Water Systems.
“We are incredibly thankful for their partnership,” HFHWM Director of Development Kim Randell told The Daily Herald. “Thanks to CPWS and all of our generous sponsors, Maria and her family now have a safe, stable place to call home.”
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.
Munoz, who has worked as a cook at the Cheesecake Factory in Cool Springs for the past three years, says she is proud of her six children and considers raising hardworking, kind children her “greatest achievement.”
Munoz’s son, Jesus, who serves in the U.S. Army Reserves, says his mother instilled in him the desire to work hard and do well.
“She showed me that no matter how bad things get, to never give up, and to never lose hope,” he said. “Habitat for Humanity has given us a renewed hope, and we are so thankful. Our family is an example of hard work leading to a better life. We want to thank the sponsors of our home and let them know that their love and faith are going to help our family do great things in the future.”
Maria’s two older daughters, Ashley and Mariella are grown, but she still has four children at home: 19-year-old Jesus, 10-year-old Anthony, 30 year-old Johnathan and 2-month-old Giselle.
“I’ve been in the United States for 22 years,” Munoz said. “Raising my children in this community has been both wonderful and tough. My children do not understand not having enough food to eat when they see so much abundance around them. I have worked hard and also prayed that my children would have a better life.”
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in approximately 70 countries.
Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury was fully incorporated as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International on Dec. 5, 1992.
The organization has built 236 homes in Williamson and Maury Counties, and continues to build 10-12 new homes per year.
Home construction, critical repair and neighborhood development services are funded through tax-deductible financial contributions and from local businesses, churches, civic organizations and individuals along with profits generated from their affiliate, ReStore.
Homes built by the organization are not given away, and partner families must complete a homebuyer’s education program and earn at least 200 hours of “sweat equity” by working on their home and the homes of others. After a thorough qualification process, applicants are selected based on three criteria: the need for affordable housing, the ability to pay the mortgage and the willingness to partner.
Completed homes are sold with an affordable mortgage to the families, helping build the strength, stability and independence to build a better life.
Last month, Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury celebrated a new home for Columbia resident Debbie Fleming.
The home was made available to Fleming through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity Williamson-Maury and Nissan North America. Each year for the last 12 years, Nissan has sponsored and volunteer-built a home for someone in southern Middle Tennessee.