As we celebrate Black History Month, we're recognizing the people working to make positive changes in their communities.
One man in Nashville is working to build up his community by finding housing for all. He's on a mission to make homeownership a possibility, even for those who don’t have the perfect credit score or housing history.
Years ago, homeownership seemed like a distant reality for Felicia Mitchell.
“My past is kind of dark. You know so this was my chance to kind of rehabilitate myself,” she said.
It's a past that includes time in jail. Released in 2017, Mitchell relocated to Nashville and was later connected with Brooks Services to find a place to live.
“We try to make a plan for everyone,” owner Bobby Brooks said.
Bobby and his wife Michelle opened Brooks Services after seeing a need for housing in Nashville, especially for people facing challenges.
“A lot of the people we work with are vets, we also work with people who have challenges such as bad credit and prior evictions,” he said.
Brooks admits that it's a long and challenging process to achieve the ultimate goal of homeownership.
“We can start you in transitioning housing, up to an apartment rental, and from apartment rental turn you over to our real estate agent,” Brooks said.
Brooks was raised in a rough area, so finding a home for others means a lot to him, and he knows just how much it can change the trajectory of someone’s life.
“The Nashville market has changed. We’ve seen a lot of people not finding housing and they we getting denied for certain things. And we knew we could come in and make a change as owners and investors,” he said.
And for Felicia, this transition has changed her life for the better.
“Growth, prosperity, and just being able to say I made it — I got it right finally,” she said.
The Brooks say they've also seen new housing challenges arise because of the pandemic, and are planning to start a non-profit business this year to help people with rental assistance, food and clothing.