Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County will celebrate World Habitat Day with a special mortgage burning ceremony on Sunday morning at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Oak Ridge.
The ceremony will feature Sherrea Seiber, who has paid her mortgage in full after 20 years, a press release said.
World Habitat Day was Monday, October 6. The Sunday morning ceremony starts at 11 a.m. at St. Stephen’s at 212 North Tulane Avenue.
The press release said Seiber applied for a house in 1993. At that time, she had two children living at home.
When she came to Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County, she and the children were renting a two-bedroom apartment where she and her daughter shared a room. According to the Home Visit documents in the Seiber’s file, the window frames were rotting and would not close securely, the foundation and the masonite siding were crumbling, the family was using electric space heaters, and the house smelled of mold and mildew. These living conditions constitute a need for decent housing, per Habitat for Humanity guidelines, the release said.
Seiber signed a Partnership Agreement with HFHAC, paid a down payment, worked sweat equity hours and purchased a brand new home for her family in 1994, the release said.
The funds to build the house came from a large donation by The Episcopal Diocese and grants from the Thompson Charitable Foundation and the Tennessee Housing Development Association. The land was donated by the Oak Ridge Housing Development Corporation.
Seiber signed a 20-year mortgage and has now completed her obligation, the release said.
“She can retire now without having to pay rent or a mortgage,” the release said. “She has equity in her home that she can leverage for needed repairs or updates or use for nursing care in the future, should she ever need it. She can live out the rest of her life with dignity as a proud homeowner.”
Sunday’s ceremony includes Seiber, Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County, and St. Stephens Episcopal Church. A presentation will be made during the 11 a.m. service, the mortgage documents will be burned following the service, and a reception will follow.
The press release said HFHAC is very proud of Seiber.
“She is a perfect example of why we serve this community, furthering the vision of a county where everyone has a decent place to live,” the release said.
In speaking about her success, Seiber told Charlotte Bowers, HFHAC executive director, that she “grew up on the wrong side of the tracks” and was told she “would never have anything.” She smiled shyly and added “But I DO have something, I own my home.”
“She did it!” the release said.
For information on home ownership or home repair, or to make a property or monetary donation, please call the Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County office at (865) 482-7713.