Charis Community Housing is our partner ministry working to restore and develop mixed income communities. As we near Thanksgiving, we thought it’d be fun to hear from Carmen Anderson. She purchased her home from Charis in 2004 and recently satisfied her loan, ending 2014 with a paid off home.
“I grew up in Summerhill,” she says, “and my mom actually owned a Charis home.” Through her involvement in the community and a local organization, Anderson was connected with a Charis staff member who began to talk with her about the possibility of purchasing her own home in Historic South Atlanta.
Anderson says she was very excited about the opportunity, but that she was also a little sad to leave her apartment. “I had my children at a young age and the fact that I had gotten out of the house and into my own apartment was a big accomplishment. I never thought I’d leave it. Still, my kids were growing, and I wanted something more for them. I wanted my kids to be in a community environment that the apartments couldn’t provide in the say way. So when I got the opportunity to purchase a Charis home, I jumped on it!”
In fact, Anderson credits her neighbors with being what she loves most about her home. “They have always looked out for me. One time a neighbor called me while I was at school to tell me that my son had some girls over at the house.” She laughs. “My kids always wonder how I know everything. It’s my neighbors! I am thankful for these people that I have gained as friends for life.”
Anderson’s kids are now in their twenties. On a recent occasion, her son mentioned that he’s only lived two places his entire life. “My son doesn’t realize” she says,"that I was able to provide that stability as a single parent. I’ve been a single parent their whole lives. I just thank God. It wasn’t by my might. It was through Him all the way.”
She praises God for all that she’s learned over the last ten years. “If these walls could talk, they’d sell a book!” she jokes. “God has truly brought me from a long, long way. I dropped out of high school and now I have a master’s degree and am working on my PhD.” She also offers thanks for her neighbors, who she says have helped her along the whole way. “God was involved in choosing my location. I’m in the best spot."
Anderson says she’s planning to take a vacation soon to simply enjoy and celebrate owning her home. “When I sent in that last payment, I was elated,” she says. “On every check I wrote, I always included my ID number and the world ‘Amen.’ So be it."