The East Tennessee Housing Development Corporation is a community-based housing organization dedicated to providing quality, affordable housing for low to moderate income home buyers and families. We are chartered to provide services throughout East Tennessee. Our earliest beginnings were in the 1990’s when the East Tennessee Community Design Center formed ETHDC as a new nonprofit to take its work beyond the preliminary design phase into development and construction of projects.
In 2006, the City of Knoxville suggested that the Design Center re-activate the Housing Corporation to participate in the revitalization of the Lonsdale community. The desire was to create and set a standard for well designed, affordable new homes for community residents. We were the first to build an EarthCraft home in the City of Knoxville. We went on to build ten affordable, energy efficient homes in Lonsdale.
In 2016, we recognized a strong desire from our program participants to have a greater choice in location of where they lived. This coincided with the changing climate of federal and local funding for homeownership, as well as a shift in the local real estate market. We concluded that acquiring and rehabilitating existing homes provided the best opportunity for a quality home for our buyers at an affordable price. Most significantly, this shift in focus allowed our buyers the choice of neighborhoods in which to live, giving a sense of empowerment to all of our buyers.
Our first expansion to our initial neighborhood-based footprint was to purchase and rehab properties throughout the City of Knoxville. We purchased and rehabilitated 17 homes during that time. Since then, we have secured resources from the State (THDA) that allows us to further expand our footprint and to develop homes throughout Knox County as well. Again, the driving force for our decision making-process on “where” to develop affordable housing was from the direct input from our low income beneficiaries themselves.
In addition to the development of homes, our Board and Staff have worked in a comprehensive fashion to foster neighborhood revitalization efforts, reaching out to local government, funders, businesses, lenders, community residents, and other nonprofits to create a platform for lasting transformation for neighborhoods. In 2015 ETHDC was the recipient of an Equity Award by the City of Knoxville for our embrace of the Lonsdale community, including the growing Hispanic population. Again in 2019, ETHDC was the recipient of the City’s Equity Award for Housing, this time for providing opportunity throughout the City for our buyers to purchase homes in a fair, affordable and accessible way. The City recognized ETHDC for this empowering benefit of choice to our homebuyers on where they would choose to buy a home.
In our work with community residents and potential homebuyers, we saw the need for more intensive education and one on one coaching, so we developed our Mentoring for Homeownership program. Through this program, we work directly with each person to educate them about household financial management, the home buying process (including the selection of an affordable home), and home maintenance. We continue this relationship with our buyers even after they purchase a home.
The work of the East Tennessee Housing Development Corporation addresses issues that help provide stability of finances, home, and neighborhood for residents. We anticipate that our community development initiatives will continue to expand in the future as we assist local communities to imagine stronger, sustainable futures for all of their residents.
Our Affordable Housing Program is now County-wide, offering homebuyers choice of neighborhoods and locations in the City of Knoxville and throughout the County. ETHDC does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, or familial status.