The last Habitat for Humanity home dedication in 2021 for Blount County took place on Friday afternoon in Alcoa, with Yolanda Jordan taking possession of the keys.
On hand to congratulate her were staff of Habitat along with employees of Altar’d State, a local business that sponsored the build. Maryville First United Methodist Church is also a sponsor. The congregation tithed over Christmas and Easter to contribute to the house.
Business owner Ron Miller was present as well. He was instrumental in getting other businesses to support this build. It kicked off June 14.
“It’s a wonderful day. A wonderful day,” said Jordan as friends, family and volunteers arrived at the house on Spurlock Street in Alcoa. She said she is moving in “as soon as possible.” Her grandchildren can’t wait. One of them has even picked out her room for when she visits, Jordan said.
Mona Nair, development director for Habitat, told the crowd how difficult this year has been in terms of costs and fundraising.
“Building material expenses went up 250%,” she said. But despite that, this community came together and made this happen, she added. She said the plan for next year is to build two more homes in this development. More funds are needed, she said.
The development will have 20 homes when complete.
Jordan, 56, is a fourth-generation resident of Blount County who grew up in Rockford and graduated from Heritage High School in 1983. She will move into her new Habitat home on Spurlock Street in Alcoa soon; currently she resides in a mobile home with her two dogs, a Corgi named Tania and a Boston terrier named Delilah.
She worked for years at McDonald’s before becoming a certified nursing assistant. After working for nine years in that field, her health took a turn for the worse. She is totally blind in her right eye with only partial vision in her left eye.
Jordan has two grown daughters and three young grandchildren, and regularly cares for them. She reached out to Habitat as a Home Repair Program client while dealing with holes in her roof and a stench from old carpeting. Her current home does not have adequate space to care for her grandchildren and the pets.
At one point in her life, Jordan had to file for bankruptcy. She believes Habitat has helped her tremendously with saving money and maintaining a budget.
And despite her physical disabilities, this mother and grandmother has put more than 400 hours of sweat equity into her Habitat experience. Some of that time has been spent working at the Habitat ReStore.
Deb Campbell spoke to the crowd that was gathered Friday afternoon. She is a recipient of a Habitat home and also cousin to Jordan. “Yolanda deserves this,” she said. “She is a hard worker.”
Campbell said Habitat has made a huge difference in her life and now Jordan’s. She challenged others to get involved, volunteer and help others. There is more work that can be done besides the actual construction work, she explained.
“It can be licking envelopes,” Campbell said. “Something small turns out big.”
Ralph Hauze, vice president of give back and community affairs for Altar’d State, greeted Jordan with a warm hug. He talked about the responsibility we all have to be concerned about and love our neighbors.
Alar’d State had the most construction volunteers of any business on a Blount Habitat build in its history. Hauze said his employees will continue to serve and be part of a great community. “Charity is love,” he said. “Charity and love are the same thing.”
After being handed the keys, a tearful Jordan expressed her deep gratitude to all who worked on her new home. “I love you all,” she said before getting to go inside and experience home ownership.