Holston Habitat for Humanity building new home for mother and son in Johnson City

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – On Saturday, Holston Habitat for Humanity held a groundbreaking for its next build in Johnson City.

The home, located at the intersection of Jay and Main Street, is being constructed for local mother Amy Norris and her son. The house will contain three bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms.

“We are here to celebrate Amy and her groundbreaking ceremony,” said Laura Kelly, Executive Director of Holston Habitat for Humanity.

The process for the future home began a year ago after Norris approached the organization for assistance.

“We rented for several years and we went through the family promise program and we’re just trying to find some stability,” Norris said. “So just looking for some organizations to make it easier and we applied for Holston Habitat and they’ve been a blessing to us.”

As part of the process, Norris was required to attend a homeownership education course and volunteered 175 hours of ‘sweat equity’ on construction sites and at Habitat Restore locations. Despite all the work it took to get to this point, Norris said she is thankful to reach this point in her journey.

“It’s been a long journey,” Norris said. “But we’re just so excited to finally get it going and we’re excited to be able to have stabilization, something that no one can come and take from us.”

This specific build is one of the organization’s Faith-based builds, bringing together different partners for the goal of building a home.

Norris’ home is being sponsored by 5 different churches: Central Baptist Church, First Christian Church, Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church.

But the churches are assisting beyond simply being a sponsor.

“It takes about 2000 man-hours to build a Habitat house,” said Kelly. “We have so many faith partners contributing financially and with their time to this project.”

Norris’ journey doesn’t end after she receives the keys to her new home. A portion of her mortgage will go towards the next habitat build.

Kelly said paying it forward plays a significant role in their organization.

“Habitat or Humanity was founded on ‘nobody should pay more than they can afford on their house,'” said Kelly. “Because we’re a non-profit organization, we just believe in immediately pushing as much funding into the next project as possible. And there’s something symbolic and important there about a family who got their home 15 years ago still supporting a family who’s getting their home today.”

Norris said she feels happy to be able to pay it forward while paying off her home.

“We’ve already worked on some homes for other people, and we want to continue to do that even after our home is built,” said Norris. “We want to be able to give back so that other people can have the opportunity to do what we’re doing.”

For Kelly, Norris is the perfect inspiration for those looking to one day own their own homes.

“Amy is the perfect example of somebody who has pulled herself up from the bootstraps when she didn’t have boots,” said Kelly. “If Amy made it, you can make it.”

The work on Norris’ home will continue to ramp up throughout the next month, with the goal of completing the home by the beginning of summer.

Information about Holston Habitat for Humanity and any future builds can be found on its website.

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