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Creative Compassion expands service area


Deborah Durham may be moving in to her own home in December.

"I'll be dancing and singing," said Durham, who is working with Creative Compassion, Inc., in Crossville, to build a new home in Clarkrange.

"It is wonderful that they can make a dream come true," Durham said. She was born and raised in Fentress County and left about 20 years ago. She's been trying to get back home again for several years, wanting to be close to her four sisters and two brothers living there.

"I need them," she said, fighting back tears.

Durham is the first client in the Creative Compassion, Inc., program that will expand the affordable housing organization's efforts into surrounding counties. It's been a whirlwind since she first visited with Creative Compassion about her situation three weeks ago, thinking the visit would likely not amount to much. After an initial visit and a credit check, she prepared to wait for a few weeks while paperwork was processed to see if she would qualify.

"The next week they called," she said. "My loan had gone through...Through the Lord and these people, they have made it possible for me to go home, quickly."

The expanded focus of Creative Compassion is being made possible through grant funds awarded by the Tennessee Housing Development Agency (THDA).

"We want to make sure that all Tennesseans have access to safe, sound, affordable housing opportunities," said Katie Moore, East Tennessee liaison with THDA. "One of the ways we do that is to administer federal grant programs. We're here today celebrating the award of a competitive grant in the HOME program."

Creative Compassion, Inc. was awarded $209,905.67 in the homeownership grant. Those funds will be used to fund construction of four homes. Clients finance their homes through income-based mortgages, with a portion of the grant funds used in construction repaid to go toward future housing projects.