Ministry to help people find better housing

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry hopes to help people who qualify find affordable quality housing in Sevier County.

The ministry plans to help people who've been working, but can't scrape up enough money to get a deposit for a better place to live. The program is called Hearts to Home.

"We've always helped people toward a deposit, but we haven't' been able to financially move beyond that," said Dick Wellons, with Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministry. "They're already trying, they're already working, and they have been doing this for several years but just have not been able to accumulate enough funds to pay a deposit."

Wellons says hundreds of people don't live in the best conditions, mostly at weekly motel rentals. He says some need a little extra help to find a better way of life.

Wellons says the ministry is working with local churches to help with deposits and a couple months worth of rent. Beyond that he says they hope to teach the people with ways to finance build a family budget on what they make.

"They're paying enough to be in an apartment, to pay utilities, but they can't get enough set aside to make that big move," said Wellons. "In our area because we are such tourist based. It really is a difficult situation."

Wellons says it takes about $2,000 to get moved into a new place. He says people working minimum wage jobs on part-time hours simply don't have much left to save.

To learn more about Hearts to Home call SMARM at 865-908-3153.

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