published Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Local family receives new home, new start

Barbara Strickland seemed to savor every moment as she carefully crossed over the threshold of her new home for the first time Monday morning.

The 67-year-old Mrs. Strickland couldn’t contain her tears as she toured the newly placed double-wide trailer that she will share with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“It’s just a miracle,” she said of the approximately 800-square-foot Ooltewah home she received at no cost.

The Samaritan Center and 14 other agencies and businesses provided the used three-bedroom home to replace her dilapidated home. Mrs. Strickland said her old house had been deteriorating since 2006 when her husband died. She said the roof was leaking, the slanted house flooded often and a May storm took off the back porch.

“It was pretty rough,” she said.

Shortly after passing through the furnished kitchen, living room and master bedroom, Mrs. Strickland found a comfortable spot in a wingback chair in the bedroom, her hands still shaking from all the excitement.

“I didn’t think this was possible, but it is,” Mrs. Strickland said. “And I just want to thank everybody.”

The Samaritan Center presented the home in the style of the reality TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” by driving its truck away to unveil the white-sided house. The trailer was placed on the same lot as her older, crumbling home at 3945 Arthur Lane in Ooltewah. The used home cost about $25,000 to bring in, plus many donated supplies and countless hours of volunteering, said Sharon Smith, social services director for the The Samaritan Center, a social service agency that serves the eastern third of Hamilton County.

  • photo
    Staff Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson Chad Crawford helps his grandmother, Barbara Strickland, out of her new home that was built by The Samaritan Center, the Tennessee Housing Development Agency, Ooltewah United Methodist Church and local volunteers.

“We’ve never done anything like this,” she said. “We didn’t know what to do. She had to have some help.”

Mrs. Strickland has raised her three grandchildren since 1994 and now lives with them and two great-grandchildren.

Her great-granddaughter, Amber Tant, said Mrs. Strickland had always done the best she could in providing for her family. She said her great-grandmother had to “kind of bite her tongue and ask for help” with the poor shape of their older home. In addition to the new house, the Samaritan Center has helped Ms. Tant get enrolled at Chattanooga State Community College, where she will start next semester.

“It’s great,” Ms. Tant said. “I won’t have to worry about anything anymore.”

Mrs. Strickland’s 3-year-old great-grandson Brayden Brooks was equally thrilled by the home and spent the morning romping around on his new bunk bed.

“Do I get to stay here?” he said.

PARTNERING AGENCIES

* The Samaritan Center

* Tennessee Housing Development Agency (Emergency repair program for the elderly)

* Relative Caregivers

* Ooltewah United Methodist Church

* City Disposal

* Chattanooga Pest Control

* Chattanooga State Community College AHEAD program

* Sam Bostic Dirt and Gravel

* Murmaid Mattress Co.

* Woodlee Appliance

* Scott’s Furniture

* Steve Casteel Construction

* Ace Hardware of Ooltewah

* Alive in You Catholic Youth Volunteers

* Hampton Inn of Ooltewah

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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greenerob said...

Three families under one roof? Check back in a year. I hope not, but I bet the house is in bad shape again.

October 27, 2009 at 2:45 p.m.
Vandy said...

Rob, its only one family. A total of six people. The generations may be three of four but many of us have grown up with three generations in one home and done well.

October 27, 2009 at 8:56 p.m.
hardworker said...

you are right vandy many of us have grown up in difficult conditions and most of are better for it,but in this situation you are wrong and most of the agencies that were involved did a very poor job in checking on these people to see if they even deserved help at all,the grand kids she raised are old enough to work and support their grandmother who raised them[sounds fair]but instead they have robbed neighbors and are always looking for something for nothing,that's how are system works it rewards people for nothing,instead of rewarding people who work hard and try to be productive people in society,nothing was ever given to me i had to work for it and i work even harder to keep it,maybe i was taught wrong i could have just done nothing and recieved a new home and all new furnishing for doing nothing,wish i would have known that before i signed a 30yr mortgage,and yes rob is dead on!

October 27, 2009 at 9:43 p.m.
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