Meet our Habitat Family…The Arnolds!

Week 20 – Girls on the Run
May 19, 2011
Week 21 – AmazinGrace
June 18, 2011

Meet our Habitat Family…The Arnolds!

By Sheila Emory:

Let me introduce you to the family that will own the house that we are building with Habitat for Humanity…Cynthia “Susie” Arnold and her daughter, Lauren.


Unlike most Habitat families, Susie is a single mother.  She works at First Tennessee Human Resource Agency as a dispatcher/driver.  She works from 5:00am to 2:00pm every day.  Every afternoon after work, you will usually find her at the house helping build her new home.  Lauren will be a senior at Science Hill High School next year.

Susie has been in the Habitat program for over a year.  She was told that since Habitat only builds one house per year in Johnson City, that she would not be able to move into a house until late November, 2011.  However, when BCS decided to build a house as part of their 50 Years of Service/50 Weeks of Giving celebration, Susie will be in her new home by mid July…four months earlier than was expected.  Needless to say, she was so excited to be moving in the summer than in the winter.

Susie’s home is being built through Holston Habitat for Humanity, the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry.  Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Lind Fuller on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.  Habitat uses volunteer labor and contributions of money and materials to build simple, decent houses in partnership with the families.  The houses are sold to the families at no profit and are financed with no-interest loans.  Susie will purchase her three bedroom, 1040 sq ft home for approximately $75,000.  Her payments will be $400. per month until it is paid in full. 

 Habitat has a Family Selection Committee which evaluates each application on the basis of three criteria: 

  • Need – the applicant must currently live in substandard/inadequate housing
  • Ability to Pay – the applicant must be able to make house payments of $300-$400/month plus utilities and maintenance expenses.  Applicants must have a satisfactory credit rating.   A down payment of $500 is required and it may not be borrowed money.
  • Willingness to Partner – the applicant must be willing to contribute 500 hours of sweat equity and participate in the Habitat homeowner education program. 

Before the ground breaking, Susie and Lauren had completed 487.75 hours of the required 500 hours by working on the Habitat houses for other families, attending Homeowner Education sessions, etc.  I’m sure they are well over 500 by now.  They also have their $500 down payment.

Susie and Lauren are also the first family to be part of the IDA Savings Plan that is sponsored by the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency.  This program matches $2 for every $1 the family is able to save and is credited to the price of the home at time of closing.

We are very proud of Susie and Lauren because they have contributed so much to Habitat and are very dedicated to staying on the road to financial well-being.  Through this partnership, we see the hand of God working through the family, the sponsors, the volunteers and Al’s B Team showing the love of Christ in our community. 

Congratulations on your new home, Susie and Lauren!

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