Q&A with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville
NATDA had the privilege of speaking with Sherry Stinson, the Senior Vice President of Brand Engagement, Marketing and Public Relations at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville. As the partner charity for the 2023 NATDA Trailer Show, Habitat for Humanity took the time to answer some questions about their mission and shed light on the remarkable work they do.
Join us as we delve into an insightful conversation with Sherry Stinson, exploring the mission of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville and her firsthand experiences with this incredible organization.
To start off, could you please provide us with an overview of the work and mission of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville?
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville creates opportunities for affordable homeownership for hardworking individuals and families in a five-county region: Davidson, Wilson, Dickson, Cheatham, and Robertson counties. Habitat engages more than 65 faith-based congregations and more than 64 corporation creating housing solutions for approximately 30-40 families annually. One of our longest standing builds is the Unity Build which has been building homes for 29 consecutive years representing more than 16 different faiths.
How many people in the Greater Nashville area are impacted by housing insecurity?
The latest stats indicate that 70% of Nashvillians are in need of affordable or workforce housing. That is a large number indeed. The housing prices in our area are soaring and wages remain relatively low. There is a great gap of affordability for those who work in Middle Tennessee and who want to live in Middle Tennessee. We are talking about health care workers, teachers, government, and hospitality workers. People you know.
Tell me how donations to Humanity of Greater Nashville are used. What types of things do they fund?
Donations to Habitat fund affordable home ownership! In addition to building homes, donations help us prepare our homeowners for homeownership as they take 100 hours of classroom instruction learning how to budget and maintain their homes and work 70 hours on the build site with their sponsors and volunteers building their home and their neighbors’ homes. Habitat is also an advocate for more affordable housing solutions within a five-county region.
How are habitat homeowners selected?
There is an application process. Future Habitat homeowners must meet the financial criteria of making 80% or less of area median income. They must be a U.S. citizen, not have owned a home for the last two years and have reasonably good credit. The need for affordable homeownership is so great, we had 2,000 applicants apply for 16 openings for our fall build in Nashville.
How many volunteers are needed on any one project?
The core of Habitat’s affordable homeownership program is that we offer a 0% APR mortgage to our homeowners. This is possible, in part, because of our wonderful volunteer corps who help us build the Habitat homes. Habitat averages more than 5,000 volunteer experiences a year and it makes a huge positive impact in our ministry and housing affordability. In addition, being on the Habitat build site is transformational to build alongside hard working Nashvillians of all diverse backgrounds who are all giving of their time to help the lives of others. We LOVE our volunteers!
What type of impact does the housing you build have on the neighborhood in which they are built?
Habitat not only builds homes, we build neighborhoods and communities! Most of our future homeowners have been in class together and on the build site together for close to a year building a strong relational community even before the homes are built! Habitat recently finished Park Preserve, a 178 single-family home community and is now building Village by Creek, a 58 single-family home neighborhood. Habitat of Greater Nashville is a 14-year consecutive award winner from ENERGY STAR® in Sustained Excellence in Affordable Housing. Sustainability is part of our pledge to keep the homes affordable and the utility bills lower!
What, if any, misconceptions do the public have about your program or mission? What would you like our members to know?
HABITAT HOMES ARE NOT FREE! As mentioned above, our future homeowners must qualify for the program from a very competitive applicant pool and put in “sweat equity” to earn their 0% APR mortgage. They also must bring between $3,000 to $5,000 for closing costs. They are committed to creating more stability in their lives and are willing to work for it. Habitat offers the opportunity. Our future homeowners work hard to achieve their dreams of homeownership. I have a lot of respect for this group of people who work all day, care for their families, and show up at night for classes and on the build site on the weekends. They are my heroes.
Tell us about the most memorable homeowner with whom you’ve worked? In what ways did you see his/her life change?
I always love to let our homeowners tell their stories because their words are so beautiful. Please see Jessica’s story here. She is currently in the program and will be a homeowner before Christmas!
SVP of Brand Engagement, Marketing and Public Relations
You can be part of the mission and contribute to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville today. Click HERE to donate!
You can also donate to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville during the 2023 NATDA Trailer Show registration process! Dealers who donate to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville will also be entered to win the Ultimate Prize Package at the trailer Show.