Greene County Habitat for Humanity makes a difference in the lives of Greene Countians.
Since 1993, the non-profit organization has provided 30 homes for local families. The Habitat affiliate is expanding its programs and also operates a retail store.
“A Christian Housing Ministry, Greene County Habitat for Humanity, along with many other Habitat affiliates across the United States, helps bring people together to build homes, communities and hope,” said local executive director Vicki Culbertson.
Greene County Habitat is mostly known for providing houses to families who do not usually qualify for conventional home loans. The houses carry twenty-year mortgages at 0% interest.
“Families accepted into the housing program partner with Greene County Habitat for Humanity,” Culbertson said.
“These families have demonstrated a need for housing, such as living in overcrowded, unhealthy or unsafe conditions or in unsafe neighborhoods.”
“Within the six-to-eight month process, they must complete training on homeownership, including budgeting, and must complete 500 ‘sweat equity’ hours before closing on the house.”
Culbertson said that decent, affordable housing dramatically changes a family's life.
“Homeownership helps break the cycle of poverty; the feeling of security improves; children enjoy their new homes, while their relationships with others improve and their grades improve; the families gain a sense of stability; and dignity grows,” the executive director said.
“Like all the Habitat affiliates across the U.S., we offer a ‘hand up,’ not a ‘hand out,’” Culbertson continued.
“Habitat families work for and pay for their houses.”
constructed primarily using volunteer labor, utilizing as much donated construction materials as
“As a result, we can keep costs more affordable, while making the house as energy efficient as possible,” she said.
Earlier this year, Greene County Habitat for Humanity launched a new program, “Habitat Hearts.”
This program helps special needs families in the community with ramps for handicap accessibility, minor exterior repair and exterior cleanup projects.
“While the Habitat organization has traditionally worked toward providing housing from ‘top to bottom,’” Culbertson said, “the Habitat Hearts program selects by application process one major project per year, helping a family with special needs, along with working on smaller repair projects during the year, such as ramps for accessibility, railing and exterior minor home repair, including exterior painting/cleanup.”
Unofficially dubbed “Project Malachi,” Habitat Hearts this year provided four-year-old Malachi Taylor and his family with needed improvements to their home, including a handicapped-accessible bedroom, bathroom and ramp.
The son of Jason and Danielle Taylor, Malachi was born with a rare condition called arthrogyposis, which affects use of his arms and legs.
Malachi, his parents and his six siblings live in a Habitat for Humanity home, which was dedicated in 2010, just west of Greeneville.
Habitat ReStore and Warehouse
The Habitat ReStore is a thrift shop that carries household items and furniture donated to the organization, while the Habitat Warehouse carries construction materials.
Travelling from Greeneville toward Mosheim on U.S. 11E, the ReStore is located on the right before Mead Tractor Company. The address is 2640 W. Andrew Johnson Highway.
The ReStore carries furniture; men’s, women’s and children’s clothing; shoes; accessories; jewelry; books; household items; home decorator items; small appliances; toys; bedding; fabric and sewing notions; seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations; and lots of other miscellaneous items.
The Warehouse is just across the parking lot from the ReStore, carrying paint, sporting goods, large appliances, tools, doors, windows and other miscellaneous construction items.
“You never know what you’ll find at our ReStore and Warehouse,” Culbertson said, “but we’re sure you’ll find a bargain that will help us complete needed projects.
Donations to the ReStore and Warehouse are tax deductible.
“Whether you shop with us or donate items to the store, you are making contributions that help families in Greene County,” she said.
Donations of goods may be delivered to the Habitat ReStore, which is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Donation pickups may be scheduled by calling 423-638-3838.
Volunteering and Contributing
Individuals may support Habitat for Humanity in many ways: by volunteering for construction projects, making monetary donations toward construction or donating land for building projects.
“Volunteers are the backbone of the organization,” Culbertson said.
“We appreciate those who give of their talents and time helping with our construction projects and now with our Habitat Hearts projects that take just a few hours to a few days to complete, depending upon need.
“Volunteers may help on Saturday mornings for a few hours and walk away knowing they have helped a family.”
Individuals may also support Habitat by donating items to the ReStore (such as furniture, clothing, household and decorator items) or to the Warehouse (such as construction items and large appliances).
Shopping and volunteering at the ReStore helps Greene County Habitat for Humanity to fund projects.
“Your support helps families in Greene County and donations are tax deductible,” Culbertson said.
For information on volunteering or contributing to Greene County Habitat for Humanity, visit the ReStore, visit online at gchfh.com or call 423-628-1338.
Gifts in kind and/or monetary donations may be sent to Greene County Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 1824, Greeneville, TN 37744.
“Thank you for supporting us and helping bring people together to build homes,
communities and hope.” Culbertson said.