Meet the Tolberts

appalachia Housing | April 24, 2015

Fahe blog icons-01Jesse and Heather Tolbert from Knoxville, TN were renting a dilapidated house from an absentee landlord. The roof leaked, parts of the floor had fallen in, and the utility bills were $400 a month due to poor insulation. The Tolberts have two young sons, ages two and four, and Heather’s mother, Ruth, living with them. The condition of the house made them begin to worry about the health and safety of the family. Not wanting to live in another rundown rental, they decided to inquire about homeownership so they could begin investing in their sons’ futures.


tolberts-resizedUnfortunately, the traditional banks in their area turned them down. The Tolberts believed they would continue to be stuck in limbo, unable to move because their money was going to rent and utility bills in an unsafe home. “We struggled hard to make ends meet,” said Jesse. “With the rent and the utility bills, food, and other payments, we struggled.“  Luckily for them, they learned of Fahe member Knox Housing Partnership (KHP). KHP works to strengthen communities by providing sustainable housing opportunities. Along with building homes, they work with families to give them the tools necessary to achieve homeownership such as credit and debt management,
homeownership education, and foreclosure prevention counseling.


“The Tolberts were closer to homeownership than they realized,” said KHP’s Chris Osborne. “They simply needed someone willing to take the time to help.”   The Tolberts received the time and hands on attention from KHP that allowed them to resolve credit issues and pass a Homebuyer education class. The family’s hard work paid off and the Tolberts purchased a new, energy efficient home with help from the City of Knoxville Down Payment Assistance Program.


“Our new home is helping us get ahead,” said Jesse. “Our utilities bills are now $120 a month. I can live now. KHP has helped my family achieve the American Dream.”