July 29, 2021 – A grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA) will allow Sertoma Center of Knoxville to renovate a former group home into new housing for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
The $239,500 Tennessee Housing Trust Fund grant was one of six totaling just over $3.5 million that were awarded during the most recent round of THDA’s competitive grant program.
THDA Executive Director Ralph M. Perrey said the grant will allow Sertoma to expand its services in the Knoxville area.
“Everyone deserves access to safe, decent and affordable housing,” Perrey said. “This funding assists Sertoma in its efforts to provide services to those that need them while offering more updated housing amenities that will help improve the quality of life of their clients.”
The funding will be used to renovate the existing group home near downtown Knoxville into a triplex that will house 12 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The construction is part of Sertoma’s efforts to renovate existing large group homes into smaller, more modern residences to serve the Metro Knoxville area.
Sertoma will combine the grant with an additional funding raised during its ongoing Labor of Love campaign, which began in 2014.
“This is the last large group home conversion that Sertoma owns, and it is critically important to us that the people we are proud to serve have a forever home,” said Sertoma Center CEO Lee Freeman. “This project will maximize the use of this property while continuing to meet Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service guidelines. Sertoma will be able to humbly serve 12 people and provide the opportunity to live as independently as possible in the community.”
Freeman said the conversion of the property was prompted by changes in the state’s Home and Community-Based Settings Rule. Once work is completed, each unit will feature four bedrooms. Rent for all residents will be subsidized through HUD vouchers.
The Tennessee Housing Trust Fund (THTF) was created by the THDA board of directors to provide financial support for innovative, affordable initiatives that serve the housing needs of Tennessee’s most vulnerable residents.
Funding for the Tennessee Housing Trust Fund comes entirely from earnings generated through THDA’s Single Family Mortgage program. THTF grants are awarded through a competitive application process. Since 2006 THDA has provided over $73.2 million in THTF grants to local governments and nonprofit organizations across the state.