April 8, 2011 - In just seven short days from April 9th to the 16th, Knoxville Habitat for Humanity (KHFH) and more than a thousand volunteers will come together to build seven houses from the ground up and establish the beginning of Silver Leaf, Habitat for Humanity's third subdivision in Knox County.
An estimated 1,400 volunteers will log 10,000+ man hours over the course of the next week to complete the first seven homes, which will begin the transformation of 15 acres of formerly blighted property at 4044 Skyline Drive in East Knoxville into a subdivision of new Habitat for Humanity homes.
During the seven-house blitz build, volunteers will work on site each day from 7:30 a.m. until approximately 4 p.m. Starting only with a concrete slab for each house, the volunteers will build the homes to completion, from exterior and interior walls to trusses and roofing – even cabinetry and paint.
The blitz build will culminate with a large dedication ceremony at the site planned for 11 a.m. on April 16th, when the families and the volunteers will unite with community leaders and special guests. The families will be presented the keys to their homes along with other housewarming gifts.
Knoxville Habitat for Humanity purchased the property for its Silver Leaf subdivision in 2010 from Tennessee State Bank, which had foreclosed on it in 2004. Until 2010, the land had been used as an illegal dumping ground for tires, oil barrels, gas tanks and other assorted garbage and toxic materials, which created an eyesore and potential health risks for the surrounding neighborhood.
Before Habitat purchased the property, the non-profit commissioned an environmental study to determine the extent of the damage from the dumping and to see if the land would be suitable for a subdivision if cleared and cleaned. The bank paid to remove the garbage and tainted soil, which green-lighted Habitat's plans for the subdivision.
"Breaking ground on Knoxville Habitat for Humanity's new Silver Leaf subdivision is significant because of the remarkable impact it will have across the board for families who will live here and for our community as a whole," said Kelle Shultz, President and CEO of Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. "Fifty-three families, who otherwise may not have had the opportunity at homeownership, eventually will consider Silver Leaf their home. And citizens of Knoxville and Knox County will reap the benefits of one less blighted property with the added benefit of approximately $53,000 added to the annual tax base when the subdivision is completed."
Funding for the 2011 Blitz Build comes from 13 sponsors who provide the financial support and the volunteers. The Covenant Partners for this year's build include Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church, Food City, Knoxville Catholic High School, Kroger, Monday Foundation, Pilot Corporation, Regal Entertainment, Steve & Ann Haslam Bailey, TVA, UT Interfraternity Council, UT Panhellenic Council, Walmart, and Wells Fargo Advisors.
Knoxville Habitat for Humanity selects homeowners for the program based upon their need for housing, their ability to pay the no-interest mortgage, and their willingness to perform 500 hours of sweat equity. Families earn the hours by attending budgeting and homeowner classes and working alongside volunteers to build their homes and/or the homes of other Habitat families. The families can move into their new homes once their 500 hours are completed.