In 2013, Elisabeth and her husband, Brennon, met on an online videogaming platform. Elisabeth says it was “fate” that they met because neither of them were looking for a relationship. Brennon jokes, “It took me a week to figure out there was a chat at the bottom and that someone was talking to me.”
At the time, Elisabeth was living in Hawaii, and Brennon had just moved to Tennessee to stay with his mom after being evicted due to unaffordable medical bills putting him in debt.
Brennon’s life has been fraught with health conditions. At 16 years old, he had his first collapsed lung. Since then, he has endured several more setbacks, countless complications and many surgeries. “It has been really challenging,” Brennon says. “I’d like to advocate for people going through what I’m going through.” Even through his health trials, Brennon has gone to college and maintained a steady remote job as a customer service representative for a pharmacy.
Elisabeth has also resiliently dealt with numerous health challenges in her life, continuing to pursue higher education and maintaining full-time work through her difficult times. Growing up in a military family, she constantly moved around throughout her childhood. The constant change in her environments and people around her made it difficult to form lasting connections and community. Elisabeth has now lived in Tennessee for nine years. She has a stable job as an office manager for a moving company, where she has found a loving community of friends, and she and Brennon have been married for five years.
Right now, Elisabeth and Brennon live in a two-bedroom apartment with their fur babies, Indi and Felix, but as rental prices rise, they are scared they will soon be forced out of their apartment. “If they increase the rent, we’ll be homeless,” Brennon worries.
Elisabeth and Brennon decided to apply for Knoxville Habitat for Humanity because they knew it would be an affordable way to purchase a home. They are excited to start building their home in the new Ellen’s Glen neighborhood soon. “It’s just too surreal,” Elisabeth says, “It’s been a huge blessing. We’ve always wanted our own home, but we never thought we would be able to get it.”
For Elisabeth and Brennon, buying their own home will give them the resources they need to improve their health after years of suffering from chronic illness. So much of their income goes toward their medical costs that it is very difficult to balance other essential bills. Research also shows that becoming a Habitat homeowner results in improved health and quality of life.
Elisabeth and Brennon are most excited to grow their own food in a garden to help improve their health and provide fresh produce for themselves and their neighbors. “Living off of whole foods, I have to do that because it’s what my body responds to…,” explains Brennon, “My goal is to help spread that to other people too and to help give back in our neighborhood and community.”
“This is going to help us have what we need so we can help other people too,” Elisabeth reiterates with excitement for the future to come.