Cherri Barron found a new home in an old, familiar place

Cherri Barron was overcome with emotions as she stood on the front porch of her newly built home in a quiet neighborhood in Lenoir City.

Barron had just received the keys to her new home, which was built by the Loudon Habitat for Humanity with the help of grant funding from Tennessee Housing Development Agency. Every year, THDA awards Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee a $500,000 grant which is split among the state’s Habitat chapters to cover in funding gaps that are needed to complete the construction of a home.

“I’m just so happy,” Barron said. “This is my home and I love it, and I just can’t thank everyone who helped me enough.”

Barron’s home, which Loudon Habitat refers to as an efficiency home, is roughly 700 sq. ft. and has two bedrooms, a bathroom and a large kitchen and living room. Barron said it was the perfect size for her and her niece, Madison, who she is raising.

The new home is also special to Barron because of where it is located. Barron has lived her entire life in Lenoir City and Loudon County. From the time she was 5 years old, until just a few years ago, Barron lived in a house located on the property her newly built Habitat home now sits on. While she owned the property, her old house had fallen into a bad state of disrepair and it became unlivable due to its condition.

Barron was eventually forced to move out due to the home’s poor state and live in public housing as a result. After several years of living there, Barron was connected with Habitat to see if her house could be repaired, but it was far past that point. Thankfully, a new program launched by Loudon Habitat was able to make a difference for her.

“We came out here to the house, nobody was able to live in it,” Loudon Habitat Homeowner Services Director Chris Callahan said. “At the time we told Cherri there wasn’t much we could do for you at this point in time, but we told her about this test program, our Repair to Rebuild program, that we were working on. She was very patient with us, and when the test program began we contacted her and took it from there.”

The fact that she was able to stay on the property she grew up on made the new house even more special for Barron, especially since her niece would now be able to call it home as well.

“I’ve lived here since I was five years old,” she said. “This is my family home, so its special for me to be able to live here again.”