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HABITAT FOR HUMANITY: Building up to the American dream

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By Cindy Simpson

Jesse Hall and his family will hopefully be in their own home by Christmas.

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They are the latest recipients of a Habitat for Humanity home in Roane County.

“Right now I’m just tired of picking up and moving,” Hall said.

“We decided it was just time to settle down.”

He added, “I think it is the greatest thing in the world these people are doing for us. It is just showing Christian fellowship and there are still people in this world willing to help and there are still people that care.”

Recently, Roane County Habitat for Humanity volunteers put down the floor on the house on Hope Circle in Kingston.

It’s the 34th house built in Roane County.

Club President Todd Fisher said they’d be doing the walls this week if everything falls into place.

Hall stays with his mother, who has had multiple strokes in recent years, and his sister Ruby, who moved back to the area to help him care for their mother.

Helping these families find a home is a touching thing for those who participate in the organization and get to know the families.

Fisher remembers one now-high-school graduate who worked diligently on the house his family would move into.

“He was just so excited to be in his own home,” Fisher said.

Homeownership changes the people that are able to move into a Habitat home.

“It changes everything in terms of your attitude about the future, because you are building equity in something,” said the Rev. Bo Lewis, who has been active with the organization for 20 years.

“This will hopefully be worth more money in the future if they take care of it,” added Fisher.

“It really makes a difference in their lives to have a house rather than an apartment or trailer somewhere.”

Habitat for Humanity has a selection process that considers three things. First of all, need is a factor.

Secondly, the family has to be willing to work with Habitat, helping build houses and also taking classes such as those on finances and what it means to be a homeowner, and lastly the family’s ability to pay the zero interest mortgage.

Defaulting is a rare thing.

“It is amazing how few people nationally default,” said Lewis.

The chapter will be moving to a more visible location soon.

They are going to share a space on East Race Street with Roane County Cooperative Ministries.  

Roane County Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based nonprofit organization providing houses for families in need.

Visit www.roanehabitat.org for more details, or call 376-5770 to volunteer.