Happy Feet International, a distributor of luxury vinyl plank and tile headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has donated 2,000 square feet of flooring to Chattanooga Room in the Inn (CRITI), a local shelter for women and children experiencing homelessness. The donation will help support three families and three women. When the shelter dreamed of renovating its housing units, Happy Feet and other community supporters united to make the renovation a reality.
“Flooring is what we do, and every day our goal is to make people happy through it,” said CEO Casey Johnson. “As a husband and a father, it was really important to me to be able to donate the flooring and to be a part of creating a positive experience for the women and children living in the homes.”
With Happy Feet’s Highland Park warehouse being located near the shelter, the partnership was formed between neighbors. Happy Feet donated the materials to cover the flooring replacement needs of all three rental homes owned by CRITI. Meanwhile, maintenance team members from Southern Champion Tray are completing the maintenance and renovations of the units.
The three homes owned by CRITI contain six rental units, allowing them to permanently house three families and three women. The duplex, which can house two families, was the first home to be renovated with new flooring from Happy Feet in its kitchen and dining area. Two other houses will be renovated next with the donated flooring from Happy Feet, replacing the current carpet. The two unrenovated homes are currently occupied, but once renovated they will be home again to three women in need of shelter and another family awaiting housing.
“It is always exciting to have a new partner for any project because it is a new relationship to foster for future growth,” said Erin Creal, executive director of CRITI. “We really rely on the community to support our mission. Flooring is expensive, and we barely break even with the rentals, so we can use the funds that we saved on flooring to provide necessary services for our constituents.”
To be eligible for housing, tenants must first go through a program conducted by CRITI. Afterward, the organization assists them in securing a housing voucher through the Chattanooga Housing Authority. CRITI serves as both a landlord and case manager to ensure their tenants are successful and to help them remain housed.