Valdosta Daily Times

June 25, 2013

Mortgage paid, woman makes her Habitat house a home

Kristin Finney
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — After many years and pinched pennies, Allie Thomas has proudly completed her long-time goal of paying off her mortgage; a goal that many homeowners are not able to meet. And not only has she been able to pay off her mortgage, she was the first paid-off mortgage of the year for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity.

Since the beginning of the Habitat for Humanity program, only 25 families have paid off their mortgages, making Thomas a proud member of an exclusive club.   

Thomas has been a Habitat for Humanity homeowner for nine years, and since the day she moved into the home, she has hoped to one day pay it off completely. Thanks to the legacy of her deceased brother, and his willing of his insurance to Thomas following his death in 2009, she was able to make a lump payment of $14,800. That payment made Thomas the proud owner of her own home, and she could not be more thankful to him.

“My brother and I were very close,” Thomas said. “If it weren’t for him, this wouldn’t have been possible.”   

Thomas was a baker at Valdosta State University for 28 years before retiring in 2002; however, she has always been a hard worker. She recalled spending her childhood stringing tobacco and working in the hot sun.

“I know how to work, and if you want somewhere to live, you’ve got to work.”

Being a mother of seven has also kept Thomas on her toes.

Donnie Radney of the Valdosta-Lowndes County Habitat for Humanity said, “The program follows guidelines set forth by Habitat for Humanity International, which lays out a minimum and maximum annual income a household can bring in. For instance, a family of three must bring in $13,050 a year but cannot bring in more than $26,200 to qualify. A family of eight must bring in at least $19,150 but cannot exceed $38,350.”

Prior to moving into her Habitat home, Thomas rented from a landlord.

“I got tired of the lies about how they were going to fix things and raising prices,” she said. “Then my friend told me about Habitat, so I went and applied for a Habitat home. I had to apply twice but I finally got one. I love it. I wish everyone could have one. As long as you pay your rent and pay it on time, they don’t bother you. I am so happy to have a place to live that isn’t raggedy and cold.”

There were times when it wasn’t easy to make ends meet, but Thomas did it.

“It was hard after I retired, but I made sure to have enough money to pay for my house,” she said. “I had to have a place to lay my head. I didn’t borrow any money. I didn’t want to owe anyone anything. You have to look out for yourself, because no one else is going to look out for you. I was saving pennies, but I did it.”

As for how she is feeling after paying off her home, “I am so thankful and grateful to have been able to do this. I am blessed.”