The holidays are often a wonderful time for families to come together and make memories. But for some local families, the joy of the holidays is clouded by unsafe, overcrowded or unhealthy living situations.
For Sherrie and Shazier Franklin, the last few years have been a struggle. Due to a lack of affordable housing options, they, along with their two young sons Brian and Amen, were forced to live in a small home with another family; nine people total living under one roof. The home was so small, in order for their sons to have a warm bed at night, Sherrie and Shazier slept in the uninsulated, unheated attic.
Luckily, the Franklins found out about Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program. They took a chance, applied and were accepted.
Since 1986, Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity has built and rehabbed 343 homes for local families. Through Richmond Habitat’s homeownership program, Sherrie and Shazier purchased their safe, healthy home and pay an affordable, zero percent interest mortgage, making their dream of homeownership a reality. Before purchasing their home, they completed 10 financial and homeownership education classes and attended monthly one-on-one budgeting sessions to make sure they have the tools they needs to be successful, thriving homeowners.
Construction on the Franklin’s home, located in the Chestnut Hills neighborhood in the City of Richmond, was completed in early December. Richmond Habitat used a total of 330 volunteers to build the house from the foundation up. Richmond Habitat relies heavily on volunteer labor to help construct safe, affordable homes for local families, using over 3,000 local volunteers each year. All of our homeowners are part of that volunteer crew as well, and are required to complete 350 hours of “sweat equity” helping to build their home and the homes of other future Habitat homeowners.
The Franklins were able to move in right before Christmas this year, and, according to Shazier, spending their first holiday together in their beautiful new home was “like a gift in itself.”
“Owning our own home means everything to us,” said Sherrie, “Being able to come home to a non-crowded and mildew free home – something beautiful and clean, and being able to provide a home of our own for our children, means everything. Thank you to everyone involved. This is truly a blessing.”
For more information about Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity and how you can get involved, visit richmondhabitat.org.