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Organization paves the way for families to overcome generational poverty through home ownership

Nealy 42% of Knoxville's Black residents live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Off of Texas Avenue in Knoxville, a new solar home is quickly nearing completion. The house is special. It is the first home built by young adults in the SEEED organization.

SEEED stands for Socially Equal Energy Efficient Development, and that is exactly what this home represents.

"With this being the first one, you have to show people what you're capable of. And I believe SEEED has shown the city that we're capable of a lot," said Wando Stacy.

Stacy is the Community Engagement Manager for the program. He recruits, trains and interacts with the young adults on a daily basis. 

The goal of SEEED is to meet the needs of the young adult population. Stacy said it's a critical intervention point. They focus on reaching people between 18 through 24 years old.

"Those young adults getting out of high school, not really knowing how to get into the job market," Stacy said.

One of SEEED's mottos is 'a pathway out of poverty,' and the organization does that by providing young adults with job readiness skills. The solar house is a great example.

Stacy gave 10News a tour of the house. It is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom model. The framework, water and electric wiring are already complete.

"We had a young man do all of the frameworks," Stacy said.

For some of the young adults, it was their first time using the tools or reading blueprints. However, it gave them a new set of skills to add to their resume.

Nearly 42% of Knoxville's Black population is living below the poverty level. SEEED wants to break that trend by increasing employment opportunities in higher-paying jobs. Now, many of those young men and women can add construction to their list of skills.

"This helps so many people on so many levels. It helps the young adult to be able to get job skills that he probably wouldn't get otherwise," Stacy said. "And it helps the people that are maybe renting under slumlords currently amidst the rising rent prices."

The goal is to make their newly built home a form of affordable housing for a family in need.

"This will be that foot in the door of homeownership, which breaks the cycle of poverty," Stacy said. "Hopefully we can get at least ten going in the next couple of years."

In addition to building the solar home, SEEED is currently helping people who are at risk of eviction fill out Knox County Rental Assistance Forms. The organization is willing to help anyone in need on Mondays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. through 7 p.m.

Students and young adults can apply to join the SEEED programs. They are also always looking for volunteers.