The new homeowner and her son hugging. Whirlpool Corporation logo above a quote from the homeowner followed by Habitat for Humanity's BuildBetter with Whirlpool.

In March 2020, as the COVID pandemic was at its peak, Misty and her 6-year-old son were scrambling to find a safe place to shelter in their trailer in Lebanon, Tennessee, as a tornado passed overhead. They found themselves seeking shelter from a tornado again in 2021. Other housing issues also plagued her small family, such as summer temperatures inside the trailer that never dropped below 80 degrees. Frantic for a better place to live, she searched the housing market and discovered that she couldn’t afford a traditional mortgage. Most rental prices were also outside of her budget, but she remembered seeing news stories about Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program, and went to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Nashville’s website for more information. 

“I felt like owning a home would provide safety and stability—a sense of pride and accomplishment,” she says.

She quickly realized that she met all of the requirements and thought, “If God has it in my plan, it will happen.” Her prayer was answered, as she applied and was later qualified to take advantage of the program. 

“I felt like owning a home would provide safety and stability—a sense of pride and accomplishment,” she says.

After completing 100 hours of financial and homeowner education classes, working 70 hours building with sponsors and volunteers, and volunteering 30 hours at the Habitat ReStore, Misty moved into her home in February of 2022. She also worked with a coach to help budget for her mortgage payments, learned how to maintain her home, and learned how to be a “good neighbor.”

Ten volunteers pushing the frame of a new wall to the second floor where 6 volunteers are pulling the wall frame onto the second floor.“After years of working on my credit score, I feel like all my hard work has paid off,” she says. “Owning a home helps me feel secure, knowing that no one will be able to take it from me, and my children will always have a place to call home.” In addition to her son, Misty has an older daughter who no longer lives at home.

Misty’s new home in Lebanon was built as part of Habitat for Humanity’s BuildBetter with Whirlpool initiative, an expansion of Habitat’s existing BuildBetter program that will build more than 250 climate-resilient and energy-efficient homes and help hundreds of families in need of affordable housing over the next three years.

Misty’s new three-bedroom home has low-flow shower heads, sinks, faucets and toilets — using 31 percent less water than regular fixtures. It also has a 50-gallon electric water heater with 93 percent efficiency, double-paned windows for better insulation, and a strengthened roof. In addition, the family received an energy-efficient refrigerator and range, which Whirlpool Corp. donates to every Habitat-built home in North America. 

“Having new, reliable appliances has made cooking more enjoyable,” Misty says. “I don’t have to worry about whether the stove will heat at the wrong temperature, burning my food. I have an amazing dishwasher that allows me to clean my dishes without pre-washing or running the dishwasher more than once. It has made my evenings a lot less stressful.”

A group of 16 volunteers standing in front of a home that does not have siding on it yet.Misty is grateful for the support she received as she attained home ownership. To her sponsors, she says: “What can you really say to someone who is giving to a stranger? It is the most selfless act, and it’s so meaningful to me and my family. Time is one of the most valuable things we have. Thank you to those volunteers involved who shared that with me.”