Brenda Mahaffey grew up in Chattanooga, was married at age seventeen and has been blessed with six children, including two sets of twins, thirteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Because family is so important to Brenda, she did not hesitate for a moment to open her home to Robert, her disabled grandson. When Robert was born, jaundice affected the right side of his brain causing permanent damage. Providing Robert’s care is a challenge for Brenda. Until recently when Robert began suffering from multiple seizures on a regular basis, Brenda was his sole caregiver. Robert now receives in-home nursing care sixteen hours a day.
In May of 2008 Robert graduated from the adult program at the Orange Grove School where he had attended for several years. Brenda beams with pride when she reflects on Robert’s achievements at Orange Grove. She is so grateful to the staff and continues to maintain a relationship with many of them.
Even though Brenda has lived in Chattanooga her entire life, she has yet to experience the feeling of being home. “Living in a rented home, you never feel like you are home. You have to live like the landlord wants you to live.”
Living on a fixed income, Brenda realized she would never qualify for a conventional home loan. Hearing about the Habitat for Humanity program from a friend, Brenda began praying that she would be accepted into the program. Shortly after Brenda began her journey with Habitat, she was notified by her landlord that she had to move out of her home as soon as possible. With the threat of homelessness bearing down on Brenda and her disabled grandson, she was blessed to find a fellow church member with an apartment available to rent. “A home of my own means I never have to move or worry about the landlord. It would be mine to decorate as I wish.”
Brenda has had “angels” help her in many ways since being accepted into Habitat’s program. Friends have rallied in support of Brenda by not only providing assistance with Robert, but by helping Brenda meet Habitat’s requirements for sweat equity hours and the payment of closing costs. Brenda was worried about affording the $500 down payment for closing costs. What a surprise when her church family presented her with a paid receipt for the entire balance! Their generosity moved Brenda to tears. Brenda’s family has also been with her every step of the way. “I couldn’t do it without the help of my family. I am more than grateful for the help they give.”
Brenda now believes more than ever that God is by her side and praises Him every day for this tremendous blessing. Soon, with the help of friends, family and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga, Brenda can call her house a home!