Hickory – Exodus Homes, a United Way agency that provides faith based supportive housing for homeless recovering people returning to the community from treatment centers and prison is bouncing back from potential financial ruin that loomed at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. In early March they lost 70% of their income in three weeks when most of their residents were laid off from their jobs and their future seemed bleak. Since then many forms of help have come their way, but the most important was securing the federal Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) funding in the first round in latter April right before they would have had to lay off all their staff.

Darrell Johnson, Senior Vice President at First Horizon Bank was in daily communication with Exodus Homes Assistant Executive Director the Rev. Susan Smith and was very instrumental in helping them receive the funding just in the nick of time. “I don’t know where we would be today without his assistance in securing the PPP funds. So many businesses were in dire need of his help and the details about how to secure the PPP funding kept changing, but Darrell made sure that Exodus Homes was successful in that first round” said Smith. Exodus Homes received $48,000 and was able to maintain all their staff in the supportive housing program. Since then, the United Way, the City of Hickory, local foundations and other individuals have also stepped up to help and they are very grateful for the generosity of this community. Today they project they will be finally stable for the time being.

In addition to helping Exodus secure the PPP funding, Johnson also helped the organization with a $10,000 gift from their community development program. Exodus Homes has a long standing relationship with the bank dating back to the days when they were the Bank of Granite and the first mortgages loans that helped launch the growth of the program. “We believe in the mission of Exodus Homes and are proud to partner with them in their great work that saves lives and redeems communities,” said Johnson. Exodus Executive Director the Rev. Reggie Longcrier is grateful for Johnson’s support saying “We can’t thank First Horizon Bank and Darrell Johnson enough for saving us from collapse in the COVID 19 pandemic.”

Photo: Exodus Homes Executive Director Rev. Reggie Longcrier is seen with First Horizon Bank Senior Vice President Darrell Johnson as he presents a check for $10,000 to help the faith based United Way agency in the COVID 19 pandemic.