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Historic ground-breaking kicks off new affordable housing project in Jefferson County

Blair says she always dreamed of owning a home, but now it can become reality through a new housing project from Tennessee's Community Assistance Corporation.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — On Tuesday morning in White Pine, people gathered for a groundbreaking of a structure that will soon house a family. 

“It is a big step in life for me. It is really an honor and a blessing,” said Candace Blair, who will be moving into a home built by Tennessee’s Community Assistance Corporation.

Blair said she always dreamed of owning a home, but now it can become reality through TCAC’s new housing project. 

“I’ve always rented, and from grass and trees to now seeing a home in the middle is a blessing,” Blair said. 

The new home will come with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, and Blair said she expects to move in by this summer.

Across Tennessee, TCAC said there is a desperate need for more affordable housing -- particularly for first-time homebuyers.

TCAC is a nonprofit organization that recently achieved recognition from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a Certified Housing Development Organization. With this certification, TCAC received a $1 million grant through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to develop up to 14 homes in Jefferson, Sevier and Union counties. Federal HOME program funding is administered through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. 

“And we chose three counties to concentrate on because they had no listings whatsoever for affordable housing,” said Retha Patton, TCAC's housing program director. “We will use the grant to kind of finance the development cost. The homeowners will get a mortgage from what they can afford.”

The ground-breaking was just one of seven homes under construction now through the program. TCAC said it's worth $205,000, and the subsidized monthly payment is about $700.

TCAC plans to build up to 20 houses until funds run out.

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