Knoxville family of five to be the first moving to affordable housing neighborhood

Habitat and Firstbank were offering to help 35 families move into a new affordable housing community.
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 12:47 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - For the first time, they’re building an entire neighborhood filled with affordable homes.

On Wednesday, Knoxville Habitat for Humanity and Firstbank dedicated the first home in Ellen’s Glen with the future homebuyer family. Cierra Nance and Tobius and their three kids are hoping to move into their first home by Halloween.

“It’s almost like surprising your kids and saying hey, we’re going to Walt Disney World,” Nance said.

Nance told WVLT News she was searching for volunteer opportunities with Habitat for Humanity when she came across an application for homebuyers. Habitat and Firstbank were offering to help 35 families move into a new affordable housing community, Ellen’s Glen. The community was named after Knoxville’s habitat founder, Ellen “Sis” Mitchell. The homes are three to five bedrooms with a garage and full-size backyard.

“A lot of people don’t realize the crisis that we’re facing with people not being able to pay rent,” said Chief Marketing Officer April Timko. “We are providing an opportunity for them to get out of that cycle where they are having to decide whether they pay for their prescription medications or pay their rental.”

So instead of helping someone else build a home, Nance wound up working with volunteers to build her own.

“I wouldn’t trade this for nothing in the world, absolutely nothing,” Timko said.

Firstbank provided funding and volunteers to build each home. This partnership is part of their larger sustaining partnership that includes other sponsorships over a two-year period.

Nearly four decades later, Knoxville habitat has partnered with more than 700 families and continues to build upon Mitchell’s legacy through homes built in her honor.

The program helps families budget their mortgage. Applications for the next set of homes are expected to go live next year.