Temeka is a model tenant and pays her rent on-time each month for the one-bedroom duplex. She lives in one of the few rental properties that she could comfortably afford in the Knoxville area. But despite her exceptional payment history and full-time job, she lives in conditions that are far less than safe.
Her last rental had leaks and flooded when it rained, which lead to constant issues with mold and mildew. There were exposed wires throughout her home. Her landlord cut the ceiling open to repair some of these issues, but he never finished or repaired the ceiling. When she tried to get the repairs made through the proper legal channels, her building was condemned, and she lost her housing.
Temeka suffers from respiratory health issues, which her doctor confirms are worsened by her current living conditions. She knew that she could not continue living like this and started exploring her options for safe, affordable housing when a friend suggested Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. She was accepted into the program and began earning her 500 hours of sweat equity through budget classes and volunteer hours.
Despite working full time at the same job in facility services for over 16 years, Temeka is unable to afford safe, decent housing through traditional means. Unfortunately, stories like Temeka’s are not uncommon. Housing prices have steadily increased while wages remain stagnant. Before the pandemic, one in eight Tennessee families were paying half or more of their income on housing. And with the hardships many have faced during this time, affordable housing has become an even greater challenge.
Through her partnership with Knoxville Habitat, Temeka will be able to build and purchase her very own safe, affordable home. She looks forward to the happiness that will come with her new home. She knows that her mental and physical health will improve when she has the strength, stability and independence that comes with affordable housing.
Empowered women build inspiration. Empowered women leave legacies. Empowered women empower women.
Visit KnoxvilleWomenBuild.com to learn more and sign up to volunteer!