DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)- A Sand Mountain family went to sleep Wednesday night in a home they fully own. The deed was signed over to the Payne family Wednesday night, thanks to a local organization that builds and then directly sells homes to families in need for just the principal cost.
The Heart and Hand Homes ministry at the Upper Sand Mountain Parish, along with their community partners, make it possible. Part of the support also comes from the North Alabama conference of the United Methodist Church.
“We don’t have to worry. Our kids have a home. We have a home,” said Tina Payne. “It’s everything, not to have to worry.”
This ministry accepts applications from families who have children and hit poverty level, then selects a family to purchase the homes. It often takes years to pay off, but the homes are sold at no-interest and minimal cost. Wednesday, the Payne family celebrated their very last payment and counted their blessings.
“I used to do drugs, but I’ve been clean eight and a half years,” explained Randy Payne. “If it weren’t for God, I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have a family. I wouldn’t have a house to make my home. So I stand here today and I give Got the glory. And I’m proud.”
With this program, ministry leaders hope to give families, and their children specifically, a shot at a better life.
“[These are] families who would in no other way be able to purchase and own their own home and the land it sits on,” said Rev. James Woodin, Executive Director of the Upper Sand Mountain Parish.
He says it’s all about breaking the cycle of what he calls “generational poverty,” or poverty that’s passed on through generations in a family. He says with a new house and stable home environment, the children have a better foundation for success to hopefully break that cycle. “They can stay in school, stay in the same school and the same teachers throughout the years, and get a good education,” he explained. He believes that stability and education is the key, and says it’s been proven by other families who have bought homes through the ministry.
Upper Sand Mountain Parish leaders want to grow the program and are looking at applications to fill two more houses. The ministry has built 48 hours so far, and they’ve had help from churches, the local community, and mission teams from other states. They’re hoping to make a dent in rural poverty, because they say there’s a great need in this area.