For Lillian and Rodney, nothing is more important than family.
Lillian and Rodney have been together for almost 12 years, and together they have three children: Javaunte (23), William (18) and Mya (16). They love spending time together hosting BBQs, playing sports, and watching movies. Above all else, these incredibly strong parents are teaching their kids the value of showing up for family, even when it’s hard.
The past four years have brought financial, physical and emotional challenges for this family. They have cared for one another through hardship, illness, and loss.
In April of 2021, Lillian became sick with what she thought was COVID-19. However, when she went to the hospital, she discovered she needed immediate open-heart surgery to save her collapsing mitral valve. After her life-saving surgery, she was in the hospital for several weeks and out of work for several months to recover.
“I am blessed and lucky to sit here and tell my story,” Lillian said.
After difficult years that have both challenged their family and brought them closer together, Lillian and Rodney decided they wanted to find a way to purchase their forever home.
Rodney works as a warehouse foreman, and Lillian now works in food service. These hardworking parents have been renters their whole lives, but they have always dreamed of becoming homeowners.
Their current rental is old and in need of many updates. They regularly experience problems with plumbing. Rental prices have been increasing each year, and they have struggled with having so many limitations as renters in their own space. They have longed for a place that will fit their needs – a place their children can come home to – but the rising prices of places to live have kept homeownership out of reach.
Lillian and Rodney decided to partner with Knoxville Habitat because they wanted the opportunity to build an affordable home that can bring stability and independence to their family. They will become one of 35 hardworking families to build their new home in Knoxville Habitat’s Ellen’s Glen neighborhood. Looking to their future life as homeowners, Lillian joyfully exclaimed, “It is a blessing I can’t even put into words. I’m so excited.”
The two of them talk enthusiastically about all the opportunities their own home will give them. They will have a place for their children to come home to. It will be easier to help care for family. They won’t have to worry about yearly rental increases. They can truly settle into their new house because they know it is their forever home.
Their new home will provide community and abounding hope for this family who has been through so much. It will be an opportunity for Lillian and Rodney to find the strength, stability and independence that every family deserves.