Last week we celebrated our nation’s independence. At Fuller Center Macon, we celebrated a different kind of independence with the Troutman family.
Katie Troutman grew up in a home that her family owned in rural south Georgia. She enjoyed having good neighbors and lots of room to play safely outside. Katie’s dream was to provide this same kind of secure and stable life for her three growing children.
Katie didn’t just dream. She planned and worked hard for her future and for her children. She maintained steady employment while going to school to increase her earning potential. She spent her income wisely and set money aside as she could. Katie also took advantage of free resources including home buyers workshops and Operation Hope financial literacy and coaching services. Katie worked for several years to increase her credit score and her bank account.
The coach Katie worked with at Operation Hope had high praise for her consistent, determined attitude. A single mom with three children can easily find reasons to falter, but Katie kept going, pushing to learn and to get closer to her dream. The Operation Hope coach shared with me that if there was anyone he had worked with that he knew would reach her goals, it would be Katie. But, Katie was still not eligible for a home through traditional mortgage holders. She falls in the gap just below those requirements even after all her hard work. At first she was dismayed and confused about what to do next. Children grow up so fast; she wasn’t sure she’d be able to fulfill her promise of a better life for them.
But, hope was just a phone call away. Both the home buyers class instructor and the Operation Hope coach referred Katie to the Fuller Center for Housing of Macon.
I remember clearly the first time we met. She was prepared with her financial statements, employment records and she even brought her home buyers class instructor with her to vouch for her. She was - and remains - undaunted by the many preconditions we place on applicants for our Save a House/Make a Home program. The process is not easy or quick. Katie has met all expectations and she, her family, and friends have worked hard to put in time toward the sweat equity required of all potential home owners.
Now we celebrate with Katie.
Every July 4th there are hot dogs and pool parties, parades, and fireworks. This year, Katie and her children also celebrated independence from high rents, parking lot playgrounds, and overcrowded living spaces. They moved into their home on July 1st.
Fuller Center Macon celebrates and honors Katie’s hard work and determination. And, we celebrate the donors and volunteers whose financial and physical contributions made possible this family’s move to adequate, stable, and affordable housing that builds equity and brighter futures for Katie and her children. May God’s glory be visible to all through our collective efforts.
I can tell you that the squeals of joy from Katie’s children as they run and play in their own backyard light my world more brightly than the best of fireworks. What great work we do together!