For Chrishawna and Eric, their biggest joy in life comes from raising their three children: AyMarri (11), NaRaye (10), and Erykah (6).
Their kids are all active in sports, so they spend most days running around to all their practices and games. AyMarri loves baseball, and the girls love to come watch their big brother play. NaRaye loves to dance, taking lessons in every type of dance imaginable, and Erykah has recently started playing soccer.
Chrishawna and Eric are constantly encouraging their children to be creative. When their family isn’t busy running around with sports, they are playing board games or creating fun arts and crafts projects together. The kids love using their imaginations, and they are always trying out new things. They also love hosting movie nights.
“We’ll have little tickets to hand out to the kids to let them feel like they’re going to the concession stands, and they have to pay for it with their fake money. Then we all pick the movie and we enjoy it and snuggle up,” says Chrishawna.
Right now, their family lives in a rental space. Since the place is not well insulated, their electric bill is incredibly high in the winter. They live on a hill surrounded by trees, so there is no place for their children to play outside. Chrishawna has also had trees fall onto her car twice. “Every time there is a storm, we are worried a tree is going to fall on us,” Chrishawna said. Since moving in four years ago, their price of rent has almost doubled. It has become unaffordable and unsafe for their family, and they are ready for a place to call their own.
Eric works in IT support for a local company in Knoxville, and Chrishawna works as a licensed CNA for a hospice company. While they have looked into buying a house, the upfront financial costs of homebuying have been always too high to be a reality for their family.
Chrishawna says, “The buyers’ market is not easy to get into. The fees continue to add up – getting an agent, the down payment, and closing costs – it was too challenging.”
Chrishawna first learned about Knoxville Habitat for Humanity over 10 years ago when her grandma encouraged her to apply. Her grandma said she had heard about the program and thought it was a great model for how to find and purchase an affordable home. Once she looked at Knoxville Habitat, Chrishawna then “checked once a week for a couple of years until applications were open, and I was accepted.”
Chrishawna and Eric decided to partner with Knoxville Habitat because they knew it would be an affordable and safe way to buy a home for their family. They are so excited to begin building their new home in the Ellen’s Glen neighborhood.
Their new home will allow them to live comfortably rather than living paycheck to paycheck. It will provide them with strength and stability and increased safety. It will be a place where their kids can play outside, and they can make their home their own.
Chrishawna exclaims, “I can’t even put it into words. Just being able to say, ‘this is ours’ and being able to show my kids this is something we can accomplish. I just want to show them that if they put their mind to it, they can do anything. This is the first step of many of what is to come. Now there are endless possibilities.”