Grant program builds houses for TennCare recipients

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The dream of home ownership is now a reality for some people across the Mid-South, thanks to a grant from TennCare.

Bobby Nevills is one of three people who've called a house built using TennCare funds home for the past month.

The home is nestled among other single-family homes in the Wolf River Bluffs neighborhood in Frayser.

"Nice place to stay. It's quiet. Not a lot of fuss. Nice place," Nevills said.

A slip and fall put Nevills in a nursing home for three months.

Now, thanks to a grant from TennCare and NeighborWorks, he is able to enjoy warm sunny mornings on the front porch, no longer living in a nursing home.

"Not only is it more healthy because they feel more part of a community, but it's actually cheaper. It saves money," Amy Schaftlein, executive director of United Housing, said.

The home features wider hallways, wheelchair accessible sinks, and bathrooms, and each three-bedroom, two-bath home is energy efficient.

"We know one of the largest barriers for many individuals to quality rental housing is accessibility. Accessibility features are not in most homes, especially older homes and older neighborhoods," Schaftlein said.

Each of the residents--all TennCare recipients-- receives daily help from healthcare providers. It combines healthcare and housing in hopes of improving the quality of life for dozens of Mid-South families.

Wolf River Bluffs currently has 18 of these homes with 16 more lots available to develop.

Homes are being built in five different cities across the state--Memphis, Nashville, Johnson City, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.

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