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How We Build Community Blog

Ink drawing of a house

Pickens Habitat brings people together to build community! Since 1981, we've helped neighbors achieve the safety and security that can be found in affordable homeownership. We couldn't do this without the help of our local community and caring partners.

Read on to learn more about the impact we've made through the years with the help of generous donors and dedicated volunteers.


The Dream of Homeownership

The Blake family in their home, 2003

Dreams do come true! 

Telesa Blake-Robertson is the proud owner of her home, a dream she realized with the help of Pickens County Habitat for Humanity. Telesa has lived in her Habitat home for more than 20 years, and she recently achieved the goal of paying off her mortgage!  

In the late 1990s-early 2000s, Telesa found herself struggling with the many obstacles that life may bring – she was a single mother of three kids, handling difficulties from a past relationship, and living with her mother. But when she found out about Habitat for Humanity from her mother’s co-worker, she got excited as she learned about the homeownership opportunity the organization could offer. She was encouraged to apply, and Telesa partnered with Pickens Habitat through a program that helps those in need get approved for a mortgage. The program helped Telesa get a home of her own in Easley. 

Jill Evans had recently been hired as executive director of Pickens Habitat when Telesa applied for homeownership in March 2002. She remembers Telesa’s friendly nature and her excitement at the possibility of owning a home of her own.

“Telesa was eager, willing to work, and determined!” she said. “These qualities continued during the process of her Sweat Equity, and through the years as she consistently maintained and paid for her home.”

Telesa's home 

It took work to make the house into a home, but Telesa was up for the task! She wanted a place to build family traditions, especially around the holidays. It was important for her to have a place where the whole family could connect and call home. Evans says Telesa’s accomplishments have not only improved her own life, but also the lives of her children and grandchildren, strengthening the community at large.

Telesa has always been a hard worker and always made her mortgage payments on time. In fact, she would pay more to get ahead when she could. It was important to Telesa to show her kids that success comes from hard work. So, she says she overcame her hardships, learned a lot about how to do things on her own, and “learned how to have a life and pay to live.” 

In 2009, Telesa remarried in a little chapel near her home and became a blended family of five children, living happily together in her Habitat house. All the children are now grown and living on their own, working in the nursing and corporate fields throughout the Carolinas. Telesa is also now a grandmother and enjoys welcoming her six beautiful grandchildren to their home.

“Just last week, I spoke with Telesa when she called the office with a question,” Evans said. “She is still the same friendly, enthusiastic, and positive woman I met so long ago.  It’s truly been a blessing to play a small role in Telesa’s homeownership journey.”

Telesa is grateful to Pickens Habitat for approving her as a first-time homeowner and giving her the chance that changed her life and the lives of her kids. She hopes others can take advantage of the opportunity as well. “Call and find out,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out and change your life.”