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Housing Hub & GCHS Students Build Homes and Community

To celebrate the Fund’s tenth anniversary in 2022, the board established a one-time board directed grant that focused on collaboration. The grant round was called the “Make Lasting Connections” grant, and, that year, an ad hoc grants committee awarded $50,000 to two collaborative projects: the establishment of a free medical clinic in Tracy City, and the creation of the Housing Hub, an information clearing house for home owners and aspirant home owners. 

The Housing Hub has worked hard to create a podcast series that focuses on housing issues in a rural context. Their work gives context to grant writers and other advocates of rural housing. In addition, they have built a website that helps aspirant home owners negotiate a challenging landscape to be able to find resources that can make their home ownership possible in the face of market and interest rate volatility.

In the last few months, the work of the Housing Hub has transformed from an advocacy and services organization to an organization that helps build houses—importantly, through collaboration. A home build is taking place right now through the trades program at Grundy County High School. GCHS students are working on a house in sections that will be moved and installed on a permanent foundation in Altamont. The Housing Hub hopes that this will be the first of a series of houses being built to meet people’s needs.

Housing Hub is also evolving from a collaborative project to an independent housing nonprofit, with the hope of becoming a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), which will be eligible for federal grants to bring funding in from outside to address housing shortages. Our Community Fund has been instrumental in making that transition. Two members of the housing working group of the Community Development committee will be board members of the new organization: Lee Limbird and Bob Willems. They have recruited community member Mike Keen to the new board. In fact, the Housing Working group thought long and hard about the best way of making the transition from advocacy to development and determined that creating a CHDO was the best way to bring new resources to the community. Read more about this project in our upcoming newsletter!

Photos show Tim Tucker and GCHS Students working on the house that will go to a local family who needs a home.


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