Homeownership is a big part of The American Dream. At Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, we are a proud partner with individuals and families who are living in substandard housing conditions who want a safe and comfortable place to call home.
Refugees Bya, Lupa, and their young daughter were greeted at the Knoxville airport in 2009 by an accepting, helpful group from Cedar Spring Presbyterian Church. Forced to escape to an unfamiliar foreign country, they were welcomed to a safe apartment with a furnished pantry and with a warm, culturally appropriate meal. They immediately felt blessed and motivated to succeed. Bya met Lupa while working in a restaurant in Malaysia. They married and started their family, which has grown to five with the addition of two sons since living in the United States.
Freedom has many meanings for Nuam’s family. Nuam fled to the United States as a refugee after escaping government oppression in her native country. For Nuam, freedom is the opportunity to have a job and earn money. She started her new life with employment in the United States assisted by refugee services and Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church.
Contrary to the isolation refugees experience, a sense of community is a welcome, meaningful aspect of relocating to Knoxville that Kwal and his family greatly appreciates. Kwal values the community provided by the local Burmese ministry; the community offered by their friends at Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, Temple Baptist Church, and Washington Pike Methodist Church; and the community they will experience in the Silver Leaf subdivision among other Habitat for Humanity homeowners.
Marissa refused to become a statistic. She recalls her feelings when 1 month shy of turning 17, she became a mother. Marissa graduated from high school early and maintained two part time jobs to support her family. She is now 21 years old and a full time employee at UT Medical Center. She is the mother of four year old Brylon and preparing to purchase her first house. What is her motivation? A supportive family, her faith in God, and a desire to ensure that her son has a stable, safe environment in which to thrive.
Pau and Niang left Burma in pursuit of safety and a better life for his family of 6. After languishing in a harsh refugee camp in the neighboring country for years, he is thankful to have resettled in the United States in 2009. After suffering years of family separation, he was able to bring his wife and four children to the United States in 2010. The family was offered a warm welcome and support by many volunteers from Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, and their four children participated in the 2010 and 2011 summer ESL Camps, making amazing progress.
Anne is adaptive and ambitious, once homeless but never hopeless. She credits the support of some influential people in her life, she utilized resources that have set her up for success, and she is doing all the work. A graduate of and contributing mentor in the Teen Challenge program, Anne is a participant in A Hand Up for Women in an effort to maintain her sobriety, self-sufficiency, and self worth.
The Havrylovych family moved to the United States from Ukraine four years ago. Inspired and encouraged by family already residing in the U.S., they immigrated to Oregon, and then decided to make Knoxville home. Knoxville was appealing with good job opportunities and a welcoming church community. The family of nine is currently living in a residence adjacent to and owned by their church. It was their church family who introduced them to Knoxville Habitat for Humanity’s program, and the Havrylovych family’s dream of homeownership will become a reality in 2015.
Dia’s roots are in Knoxville. She may be in a transition period in her life now while she and her daughter live with her parents, but she has a lot to look forward to in the upcoming year. Dia is building and buying a house for her and her daughter, Aubriauna, which is quite an accomplishment for a 23 year old. And, her almost five year old will be starting school in the fall, so 2015 will be a year to celebrate!
Dalishia is building a legacy of strong capable women. Inspired by her grandmother and mother, she is a mother to five girls and grandmother to two. Dalishia left high school months before graduating to take care of her family. A devoted mother for the past 25 years, she found that she was caring for her children and overlooking opportunities for herself; she had lost her sense of self-worth. Then, a friend encouraged her to apply to Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. She started the process and her excitement grew. “I got into it, and the reality of owning my own home started sinking in.
Dianna’s sweet, respectful family of three is excited about what the future holds for them. For the past three years, they have been sharing a two bedroom apartment. Dianna; her daughter, a high school junior; and her son, a first grader, each desire space they can call their own.