Gaining Independence Through Homeownership:

Morgan's Story

"I had seen HDA homes in Stinnett, where I live, and wondered how I could get one!” - Morgan Rice

At just 25 years old, Morgan Rice was determined to stand on her own two feet, maintain a job in East Kentucky, and stay close to home. She had her own land, which she’d bought with her own hard-earned money, but couldn’t afford a home of her own … until she heard about HDA.

“A girl needs to be able to take care of herself and not depend on anybody,” said Morgan, sharing the advice given to her by her grandpa.

Growing up in the tiny community of Stinnett in Leslie County, Morgan had seen so many women struggling, especially under the weight of generational poverty. She didn’t want that for herself.

She started working young, first becoming the manager of Cato’s, a local department store, and then, as a Therapy Assistant at Fugate Family Chiropractic in Hazard, where she continues to work today.

She paid off her car finally, and then set her sights on getting a place for herself.

“I felt like I was ready,” she said. “I had just bought the land and had been looking at double-wide trailers, but the payments would have been $1,000 a month at 11% interest. I just felt like I’d never get that paid off and would lose everything.”

But one day at work, a colleague told her about how she’d gotten a home through HDA.

“She told me about what it was like to pick out her front door,” Morgan said. “I didn’t think I’d qualify for an HDA home, though, because I’m single and have no children. But I wanted to feel stable and that I could take care of myself.

Thankfully, Morgan did qualify, and HDA’s funders, donors, supporters, and volunteers made it possible for her to have a brand-new home built in her hometown!

Above: Volunteers work with HDA carpenters on Morgan’s house. The last photo shows Morgan’s finished kitchen.

“They actually took me to see a house that HDA had built, and Chris Doll (HDA’s COO) surprised me by saying that they were going to start on my home in March! I thought it seemed too good to be true.”

But it wasn’t. The footers were dug on May 30, and Morgan moved into her new home in September.

“I feel like I’m a big kid now!” she said, and laughed. “I remember them calling me and telling me that it was the last day of work and that when I got home from work that evening, all the trim would be done, the cabinets would be up, and the doorknobs would be changed.”

“When I saw it, I cried.”

She said she’s told her friends about HDA and feels even more determined to do well these days so she can pay off her home.

“Every time I look at it (the house), I just think – that’s mine!”

If you’re interested in HDA’s Homeownership Program, click here to find out more. To Volunteer with HDA and build homes similar to Morgan’s, click here.

The building of Morgan’s house was generously funded, in part, by a grant from The Thompson Charitable Foundation.

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