Terrie Freeman, mother of three and grandmother of 14 marks a new stage in her life this week, as construction of her Habitat for Humanity home gets underway thanks to financial support from the Clarence E. Harris Foundation.
Terrie Freeman, left, with Erika Pope - who is also a Habitat homebuyer.
For the majority of her life, Terrie raised three children alone in the very same apartment in Greenwood Terrace – a low-income housing facility – where she lives today. While her children are grown, and on their own for the most part, she often finds herself providing temporary shelter and childcare assistance for one of her children. She also is responsible for the primary care of her two eldest grandchildren Ta-liyal, who is eight, and Ti-on, who is seven.
Terrie has always taken pride in giving her children and grandchildren and given them the best of what she had to share. She has worked hard since finding stable employment with Sodexho Food Services at the McCallie School, but as her income has increased, so has her rent. Terrie has often thought about becoming a homeowner, and having a safer and more affordable situation, but always found a way to convince herself it would never happen.
Terrie's friends and co-workers from the McCallie School came out to celebrate the start of her home.
Terrie often shared her desire to become a homeowner with others. She especially liked talking with Sumner McCallie about Habitat for Humanity. One day Sumner asked Terrie if she would like to meet Connie O’Neal, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga’s Director of Family Services. Terrie agreed, and Sumner drove her to Habitat’s office.
Brandon Stephens, left and Sumner McCallie, Habitat's board president look on as Terrie Freemand and Pete Palmer, Habitat's Executive Director drive in the first nail in the flooring system.
She applied for Habitat’s homeownership program, was accepted and began completing the program requirements including attending classes and putting in hours in support of the program. “Terrie has become a leader among our partner families,” O’Neal says. “She is one the most “buyer ready” partners we have had.” For Terrie, her interactions with Habitat have sparked a new found hope and pride. “Now that I see I can do what others can, I am very proud of myself. I am very proud of where I am today,” she said.
Merrill Lynch volunteers gear up to begin work on the floor of Terrie's home.
With construction of her own home getting underway Terrie is focused on creating an environment of love for herself and her family. “The main thing my parents gave me was love. That’s what I want for my family,” Terrie said. Through home ownership, Terrie believes she will be able to give this gift fully. “I always made it through rainy days, because I know I have my family. Yeah, it’s bad when it rains, but when it rains, we all come together.” She says she can’t wait to hear her grandbabies say, “Let’s go to mama’s new house.”
Merrill Lynch Volunteers at work ...
Terrie’s dream of homeownership is poised to come true thanks to the Clarence E. Harris Foundation. “The foundation’s generous support has helped change many lives in Chattanooga over the years,” says Pete Palmer, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. We are grateful for their continued investment in the lives of Chattanooga families who need affordable homes.”