Homeless no more: Family comes back to ancestral land

Published 9:05 am Thursday, August 20, 2020

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ADVANCE – Sonya Allen is back home. And she brought her two children – Laney and Smitty – along with her.

Last week, the Davie High graduate who had fallen on some hard times was all smiles as they moved into a new home, thanks to Family Promise of Davie County and Clayton Homes.

The land, in the country off of Peoples Creek Road, has been in her family for generations, dating back to her ancestors who worked the land as slaves.

“God has been good to us,” she said.

It’s a good attitude for a family that lived in Winston-Salem and a water line break led to their home being condemned. A time of homelessness followed, including time spent living in the condemned home and then in a camper.

Along came Family Promise, a program that has been successful at helping families overcome homelessness. Allen is a graduate of that program, completing it with flying colors and now helping others. She’s been through the financial and life classes, has a job and now – a home – one of five nationwide being given away by Clayton Homes in a partnership with Family Promise.

Early on, Lisa Foster, director of Family Promise of Davie, heard Allen mention that she owned some land in rural Advance. The thought stuck in the back of her head, and when the application came in for the free Clayton Homes, she saw the Allen family as a perfect fit. So she applied. They didn’t receive the home the first year, but the second time was a charm.

“They have brought me back to my foundation, to the home where I grew up,” Allen said. “I never had to move. My stability was never ripped out from under me. Now, my children will have the stability that I have wanted for them for so long. It’s unspeakable joy. God is so good.

“This home means a peace of mind, nothing to worry about, not having to stress,” she said. “It’s home, especially to my children. God blessed me to have them. My  life has been given to me by God.”

She remembers well growing up on the family land. Her great-grandfather, Samuel Vance Allen, was the first freed slave in the area.

“I’m so happy to have my own room,” said Lanie. “It makes me so excited and so happy to be here. I really love my mom, my brother and my family.”

The Clayton home sits on the same spot as Allen’s childhood home.

Moving from Winston-Salem to a home in the middle of nowhere made Allen anxious, not knowing how her children would react. “Thery’re at peace like they’ve been here all their lives,” she said. “That’s a blessing of living in Davie County. I thought, ‘What was I running from’?

“These tears are tears of joy. I’ve met a lot of good people along the way, among all of the chaos. God has put people in my path. This woman (Foster) is a blessing. She gave me hope at a very dark time when I didn’t know where I was going with my children. You may not know me, but if you are involved in this, I’m so grateful. ”

The feeling is mutual, Foster said.

“I can’t think of a family more deserving.”

Looking at Allen, Foster said: “You’re home. This is your home now, on your land, and you’ve worked hard for it.”

Clayton Homes provided the furnished, energy efficient, landscaped home on a permanent foundation. It is part of the company’s “A Future Begins at Home” program.

“God has been good to us,” Allen said.