Helping adults with intellectual disabilities in East TN live their lives to the fullest

For over 50 years, Sertoma of Knoxville has worked to help adults with intellectual disabilities in East Tennessee live their lives to the fullest.

One of the most important ways Sertoma accomplishes this goal is through the supportive housing it provides in the Knoxville area.

“Housing for us is really one of our core competencies,” Sertoma of Knoxville Executive Director Freeman said. “Around two-thirds of the folks we provide services for don’t have family, so they’re coming through the system and they really need housing and it needs to be affordable. We also try to own and maintain our houses so we are the land lord and we can make sure that we’re understanding of the issues they have to deal with.

“The other folks we help that do have families are looking for a safe place for their loved on to live and be taken care of. They want to find a forever home for their loved one and that’s where we come in.”

Over the past several years, Sertoma has utilized grant funding through Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Tennessee Housing Trust Fund to renovate three of its properties in Knoxville to provide updated amenities and increase the number of people it can help.

“We’ve got these really nice homes and we want to maintain them, and that’s what you see with a place like Groner Avenue,” Freeman said. “We worked with THDA, and it was during a time when we were seeing the effects of inflation, and the funding from the Housing Trust Fund grant actually made this happen.”

Freeman said the grant funding allowed Sertoma to renovate the Groner Avenue property in a way that increased occupancy from nine to 12 while at the same time improving the home’s layout and maintaining the affordability that is so desperately needed for residents. Freeman said the two previous Tennessee Housing Trust Fund grants Sertoma received facilitated similar transformations.

“I would say we wouldn’t be as far along (in the renovations process) if we didn’t have the grant funding from THDA,” Freeman said. “I don’t know that we would be able to have the progress as fast as we have without the grants from THDA.”