Christmas always makes me reflect on the good things that I have in my life. I know that officially this is supposed to be what Thanksgiving is for, but growing up for me Christmas was the primary time that everyone I knew got off work and that out of town family came to visit. It’s one of the few times of the year that everyone seems to slow down and focus on what’s in front of them instead of worrying about the future. I always take this time to look at my family and my parents’ home and really just be thankful that I have all of them in my life and a place to spend a restful moment.
Since I’ve worked at Fahe, I’ve had the pleasure to meet with families who were able to get their first home loans or to have their existing homes repaired. Every single time they have mentioned how thankful they are to such a positive life changing opportunity. I can’t help but wonder and hope that their holidays are spent with family and friends in a home that they are proud of.
Since I’m already in the reflective mood, I just want to share some brief snippets from some of the families that have been recently helped through the Fahe Network. These people wouldn’t have had their lives changed without the hard work of the men and women who work at non-profits and people who have given their time and money to help families in Appalachia.
Amy Couch is a single mother of two who made a promise to herself five years ago that she would have a home she and her children would be proud of. Through hard work and assistance from Clinch Powell RC&D, Amy was able to get her credit to a good standing and have a home built in a new subdivision. Her new home is Energy Star v.3 certified and will save her about $700-$1,000 per year in electric bills.
The Talberts were living in a rental home in Knoxville that wasn’t truly fit for habitation. The house leaked which caused the carpets to become soaked and a severe mold problem to develop. The windows of the home wouldn’t open and the landlord was absent, which prevented vital repairs. Thanks to Knox Housing Partnership, the Talberts were able to move out and get into a clean and safe home where they can proudly raise their family.
Down in Hazard, Amanda Gilbert, a single mother raising her two daughters and her nephew have a new home thanks to Housing Development Alliance. They were living in public housing with restrictive guidelines and ever increasing rent. Their new home will give her children a stable and safe environment and afford Amanda the chance to go back to school for a Human Services Degree. Their home was part of HDA’s 200th Home, 20th Year celebration and Amanda and her three children were on site helping to build their new home.
Rebecca is a single mother of two young children who works two jobs. A renter for years, she had a tough time finding safe and affordable housing for her and her children. She wanted to own a home, but believed a sizeable down payment was necessary. While researching a way for her sister to get a home, she learned of Kentucky River Foothills Development Council and found out that she actually could qualify. After completing the necessary homebuyer education classes and homeownership counseling, she was able to get a USDA 502 Direct Loan and she and her children now live in a quality affordable home.
Those are a few of the lives that Fahe and the membership have touched just this year. In 2014 the network was able to help 8,724 families into new housing.
As a final “Merry Christmas” to everyone, I’d like to leave you with a new Christmas video produced by Fahe featuring a singer and songwriter native to Appalachia – Sam Gleaves. May your Christmas be spent enjoying the company of loved ones.