200,000th Habitat For Humanity Home Completed

The owners of the 200,000th Habitat for Humanity home have officially moved in.

Tonya Harper and Koffi Kouassi were given a Bible and the keys to their new home on Monday morning, with former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp making the presentation.

"I'm used to moving, but this time when I move in, I don't have to worry about moving anymore,” said Harper. “I'm thankful for that.”

The new five-bedroom home, which will house Harper, Kouassi, and their children – Kenny Harper, 20, Folasada Harper, 18, Jeminata Harper, 14, Koffi Harper, 9, and N’Dah and Ayah Harper, eight-year-old twins – is the first that the family has ever owned.

More than 150 volunteers helped to construct the home, which is located on South Chestnut Street in Knoxville.

The completion of the new home also marked a successful close for the building phase of Habitat for Humanity's More than Houses campaign.

“It took 24 years for Habitat to build its first 100,000 houses,” Paul Leonard, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, said at the dedication service of the Knoxville home in March. “But with the generosity of our More Than Houses partners and the thousands of volunteers who have helped shoulder this load, the second 100,000 was completed in just five years."

Knoxvile Mayor Bill Haslam, who was also present at the dedication service, said that Habitat's services are helping to fulfill the "American dream" of homeownership.

“This milestone celebrates the accomplishments of Habitat for Humanity, its extensive network of volunteers and local government working together to build homes families can afford,” said Haslam.

“Owning your own home is the American dream and homeownership is essential for building stronger and safer neighborhoods in our city. Thanks to Habitat that dream is coming true.”