Kellie is an Evansville resident and single working mother who was searching for a decent home for her and her son. A friend put her in contact with Eric Cummings, executive director of Community One, and the result was, in Kellie’s words, “phenomenal.”
A Christian nonprofit Community Development Corp. (CDC), Community One matched Kellie with a refurbished Evansville home, at a cost far below market value. The organization focuses on local housing restoration and community development. Restoration can range from weatherizing a home to total refurbishment, as in Kellie’s case. Community development, such as in the Jacobsville and Glenwood sections of Evansville, goes beyond housing and attempts to improve entire neighborhoods.
“We started Community One to mobilize resources to restore housing and restore neighborhoods to be thriving, sustainable neighborhoods,” says Cummings, a pastor at Crossroads Christian Church before creating Community One in 2013. “When we looked at the landscape of Evansville, we saw a great need to help homeowners stay in their homes and reduce blight.”
Community One depends on contributions from individuals, home supply companies, and corporations such as Old National Bank and Vectren. At the heart of the effort are volunteers, especially those with building, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical skills. Because of them, Community One recently purchased a house for $100, refurbished it so that it appraised for $97,000, and then sold it to a family in need.
“It’s really lifted me to see the people we’ve been able to help,” says Bob Scales, a volunteer core crew leader. “There’s a lot of interaction with people in these neighborhoods.”
Anyone can go to the Community1.org website and request help, donate, or sign up as a volunteer.
“When the house was finished, walking through, it still had not sunk in that this was the house I was buying,” says Kellie. “It’s beautiful. I mean it was just phenomenal. I can’t thank anybody enough. I can’t bake enough cookies to say thank you for this.”
For more information about Community One, visit community1.org.