|Congratulations to the following individuals and families who have benefited from programs and services offered and supported by Community Services and Revitalization.|
LIHEAP Spotlight – January 2014:
Ms. Linda Woods, a 65-year old resident of western Louisville, applied for the LIHEAP Crisis Program when her LG&E bill topped $500, and her shutoff date was just days away. “I try to keep costs down but live in an older house, with 10-foot ceilings, which is not well insulated.” LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) benefits were applied directly through a portal to Ms. Wood’s LG&E account which prevented disconnection and helped keep Ms. Wood’s household warm.
Financial Empowerment Program Spotlight:
Robert S. is one of the hundreds of individuals who has participated in the Finance 4 U course offered by Community Action Partnership. While serving as a volunteer at the Catholic Enrichment Center, the venue where Finance 4 U is offered, Robert heard many positive reviews of the classes so he enrolled to “expand his horizons”. He benefited so much from the first series of classes that he went on to participate in Finance 4 U #2 – “The sequel”.
Robert gained important financial education tips on being prepared and avoiding stress which includes establishing a $1000 emergency fund. Robert's efforts to work towards his goals, along with his outstanding volunteer work, led to him to being recruited for full-time employment at the church adjacent to Catholic Enrichment Center as the Pastoral Administrative Coordinator.
Weatherization Assistance Program Spotlight:
“I am so happy that all this work is being done at my home. I know that with all the insulation installed in my walls and attic, along with the new furnace that I so badly needed, that I will be able to save so much on my utility bills. I want to thank all those involved in the Weatherization Assistance Program for their assistance.”
Congrats to Deborah V. on the closing of her home in September 2012 (pictured above in the center). She bought her home from River City Housing, Inc. The construction was partially paid by a loan of HUD HOME funds. She also received a forgivable loan and closing cost assistance, also in HOME funds.
Bank On Louisville Spotlight:
Chanice P., an 11 year-old student in Jefferson County, was recognized at Bank On Louisville’s (BOL) 2nd anniversary celebration in August 2012 for serving as a role model to other youth. She was the winning artist in the 11- 13 year old category in BOL’s "Smart Money Choices Open Doors to Bright Futures" art contest and was invited to read her winning essay which highlighted her plans to save money for college as well as her goal to become an actress.
Education and Training Spotlight:
Shartina “Tami” Charles is a shining example of a great community leader and female-business owner who, through her own determination and funding of capital, began Dudley Products Louisville. Unemployed just a couple years ago, Tami received a variety of client services through the Department of Community Services and Revitalization – including an educational scholarship from Community Action Partnership to and business training funds from the microenterprise program . Tami credits this support for giving her the leverage she needed to obtain her educational and business goals.
CHDO Homebuyer Spotlight:
This first-time homeowner bought her house from River City Housing, Inc., a certified Metro Community Housing Development Organization. She is a working mother of three daughters. She received down payment and closing cost assistance from Metro Revitalization’s Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO). Along with assisting the buyer, Revitalization subsidized the developer making the unit more affordable and further developing capacity of River City Housing to build future houses.
Lead Safe Louisville Spotlight - March 2013:
"Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits" (by Robert Brault). And this is just what the Lead Safe Louisville Project (LSL) staff did for over 8 years as they persisted to assist the owners of a large single family home identified with lead hazards.
The wood shingled house – located in the Portland neighborhood and built in 1920 -- sustained several changes to the front façade throughout the decades, some of which included removing the original architectural elements. Over time, the exterior of the home became weathered, deteriorated and structurally damaged, and the presence of lead hazards was also detected.
The LSL Project team, part of Louisville Metro Department of Community Services and Revitalization (CSR), became engaged and worked to bid out the project and receive approval from HUD, the funding provider. Unfortunately, the project experienced numerous delays over an eight year period due to a combination of personal struggles by the homeowners – “Mr. and Mrs. M.”-- and various program eligibility issues and funding limitations. Quite sadly, Mrs. M. passed away after losing a battle with brain cancer and Mr. M. had to work through a federal lien on the property, resulting during the time he cared for her.
Several years later, with perseverance by the LSL team members – and due to an increase in household size (grandchildren) and a more urgent need for rehab -- the LSL Project was able to partner with New Directions Housing Corporation as part of the Portland NRSA (Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area) Project.
Local architect Tony Kleyer, redesigned the front façade to include some of the previously removed architectural elements. New Directions provided the façade redesign, addressed drainage issues, installed a new roof and renovated the kitchen, which was the original back porch. CSR’s Housing Rehab Manager and the LSL Project staff oversaw remediation of lead hazards on both the interior and exterior of the house, and the “safe up” of electric in several rooms as well as installation of a wall in the stairway as part of their Healthy Homes grant. Both groups assisted with providing stability to the deteriorating structure.
Today, the house is unrecognizable with a new red door and exterior light figure reminiscent of the era. The family has completed renovation of one of the children’s rooms and continues making improvements in the home’s interior. By working in partnership, another lead safe, clean, warm and beautiful house has been added to the Portland landscape.
Self-Sufficiency Services Team Spotlight - March 2013:
Ms. B. Williams (pictured to the left) has been a HOME participant since 2007, who began receiving case management in 2010 from Charlene Reeder-Welch (pictured to the right), a Community Services and Revitalization team member. Together they have worked to set goals for Ms. Williams including obtaining and maintaining permanent housing, and increasing skills and income to help on her path to self-sufficiency. Ms. Williams began paying off creditors, attending workshops and trainings, and enrolled in J.C.T.C. with a graduation date of May 2013. She has dreamed of becoming a homeowner and is on target to do just that -- she has been working with Habitat for Humanity by completing 500 sweat hours helping someone else and currently in the process of selecting a lot to begin her own construction. She is now paying her total rent with the HOME program and looks forward to paying a mortgage. “If you do what you’re supposed to do, good things happen. It’s not that hard- it takes commitment", Ms. Williams proudly stated.
Revitalization Spotlight -- April 2013:
Adrien and Maria Harerimana have much to celebrate at the closing of their house on Kerry Drive. This is their first home since the family immigrated to the United States from Burundi in 2008, and they have 6 children, the oldest of which serves in the United States Army. Also pictured is Becky Roehrig, Executive Director of River City Housing, Inc. . CSR provided gap financing to help fund the development of the house and down payment assistance to the buyer to help complete the deal.
Wrap - Around Services Spotlight - March 2013:
In March 2013, while visiting her case worker, Joi Boyd (CAP), Ms. Tonya Battle dropped off a letter sharing her praise and gratitude for several staff members and services provided by CSR. She started by describing her financial problems late last year which led to her seeking services at a Neighborhood Place location. There she received a couple of referrals -- one being for LIHEAP -- because her utilities were due to be cut off in the near future. She called LG&E for an extension until the day of her LIHEAP appointment where she was greeted a "cheerful and upbeat worker" named Shontee Tinker (CAP).
It was near the end of the work day -- and unfortunately Ms. Battle was missing some of the required income verification -- but Shontee "jumped into action" to guide her on where to go to obtain the necessary paperwork. Ms. Battle vowed to hurry as fast as possible but was convinced her power would be shut off that day - already making plans in her head on what she would do with her kids for the night. When she returned to the LIHEAP office after closing time, she couldn't believe to still find Shontee waiting to assist her. "I was like WOW. This lady had taken some of her time to help me make sure my electric was not cut off," stated Ms. Battle.
During her LIHEAP visit, Ms. Battle also picked up a brochure for a "Finance 4 U class" taught by Joi Boyd that included the Start Fresh curriculum, because she needed help getting out of the ChexSystems and on managing her money. She learned a lot of valuable lessons from this class including how to use coupons. "My first time out using coupons, I saved around $100 on my groceries. I looked at all my groceries and then at my receipt and felt like I had got away with something, " said Ms. Battle.
The second, but most important thing she said she came away with was hope. "Joi not only listened to us and instructed us in better money management, she was very adamant in instilling in us that this can be done." Ms. Battle was also excited to receive her Start Fresh certificate to help her open a new banking account, and is working hard to search for gainful employment.