‘Feel the heart:’ Blount Habitat for Humanity shows latest homes to community
By Joel Davis | (email@example.com)
Blount County Habitat for Humanity held a tour of its latest houses on Norwood Village Lane on Wednesday.
Habitat President/CEO Tony Gibbons welcomed a crowd of community members to the site. “Our hope is you will walk in here and feel the heart of our mission,” he said.
Founded in 1992, Blount County Habitat is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry whose mission is to eliminate poverty housing by working in partnership with the community to build simple, energy efficient, affordable housing.
Community members toured what will be the home of Becky and Darrell Dixon. “It’s a dream come true for us,” Becky Dixon said. “I’m just excited to have something to call my own.”
Both of the Dixons are disabled, although Darrell worked 25 years before taking disability. They have been living in a mobile home park.
“It’s been really great,” Becky Dixon said. “I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’ve learned a whole lot about how a house is built.”
Habitat does not give away the homes. Instead, each recipient family must work at least 350 hours of “sweat equity” on both theirs and other homes. They also must attend classes on budgeting, home repair and other classes that will help them succeed as homeowners. And, they must qualify for the mortgage.
“It’s a two-year process,” Gibbons said, adding it requires nine to 10 hours of work per week from clients. “... It still comes with a mortgage. It still comes with payments.”
The current build location is Norwood Village Lane off Morganton Road near William Blount Drive. The Norwood Village subdivision has been a collaborative project between Habitat and Foothills Community Development Corp. “At the end of it all we’re talking about 45 houses that have been built,” he said. “That’s 45 families impacted.”
Habitat is currently working on its 127th house in Blount County. “The houses are new houses, and that means new revenue coming into the community,” Gibbon said.Betty Ogle, who owns the 120th house built by Habitat, sang for the crowd in a voice strong and clear: “Joy bells keep ringing in my heart.”
“This community has truly uplifted me,” she said.