Genesis Homes Gives Families New Room to Grow

Two years ago, Kendalyn Johnson felt crowded, packed under one roof with her three daughters and her mother. Although living together made it easier to care for her mother’s health issues, there was limited space for everyone to live comfortably. She wanted more room to raise her family, but was concerned about finding an affordable place on her limited income. Kendalyn heard about an organization called Genesis Homes and contacted them to see what opportunities were available.

Genesis Homes facilitates neighborhood revitalization in low-to-moderate-income areas throughout the Upstate. The organization works to provide affordable housing by constructing quality-crafted homes for rental and ownership by low-income families and the elderly. Renters pay anywhere from $400-$600 per month, depending on income level and number of bedrooms. Since 2006, Genesis Homes has built 24 homes in Greenville, Laurens and other parts of the Upstate. Another six living units are currently under construction and five more are planned for next year.

With the support of Genesis Homes, Kendalyn and her daughters now have room to grow in a new home. She is able to afford a nicer home despite her tight budget since the program bases rental rates on income level. “I wanted my kids to have a decent place to live, but needed something I could afford,” she said. “Now I can raise my girls in a nice home in a good neighborhood. Being able to walk into a brand new home I can afford is a wonderful feeling.”

Having this extra space also allows Kendalyn to open her home to her extended family. “We can have the rest of my family over to enjoy time together,” she said. “My brothers and their families are able to come here instead of us always having to go to their house.”

Kendalyn not only has a new home for her family, but also has a new support system. Settling in after the move was challenging, as both her mother and father passed away during this time. Kendalyn is thankful that Genesis Homes has been there to lend a helping hand.

“They go beyond what you’d expect because they actually care,” she said. “The staff will stop by to see how we’re doing when they’re in the neighborhood, and they’re quick to send someone if I call about any issues. It’s been great to rent from people who see you as a person, not just as a tenant.”

Outside of her own home, Kendalyn has seen the impact Genesis Homes has made around her neighborhood by helping other families. “They’ve done a lot to help our area grow as a community,” she said. “They don’t just put you in a home and leave it at that. They are hands-on and always there for you, whether you just need to talk or need help resolving an issue.”

Kendalyn’s fiancé Marquise plans to join her and her daughters in the home after their October wedding. The couple is looking forward to finally tying the knot this fall, after postponing their nuptials last year to mourn her parents’ passing. Although she wishes her mother and father could be at the wedding, Kendalyn is eager to add Marquise as an official member of the family.

For more information about Genesis Homes, visit www.genesishomessc.org.

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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