Springfield nonprofits partner to build a home for a local family

Clark County’s Fuller Center for Housing and the Neighborhood Housing Project of Greater Springfield are collaborating to help a Springfield woman become a first-time homeowner.

Each group aims to increase home ownership for low- and moderate-income residents in the Springfield area. Although they have worked together on home renovations before, this project is the first time the groups have set out to finish a new home construction together from start to finish.

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“We’re excited about building a new home for a family because it’s very difficult, due to the cost of construction, to be able to provide affordable housing, even with subsidies available,” said Tina Koumoutsos, NHP executive director.

The housing partnership has focused on the development component of the build, Koumoutsos said. That includes finding a family for the home, arranging financing and providing counseling for the new homeowner.

The Fuller team has taken the lead on the construction of the building, which will be completed through a combination of volunteers and paid professionals. Construction is underway, and they hope to be ready for the family to move in during the spring, said Kermit Rowe, executive director of the Fuller Center.

As the only nonprofit in the area chartered as a Community Housing Development Organization, NHP has more federal funds available to them than the Fuller Center.

Fuller also boasts a base of volunteers who can complete much of the construction work for free.

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“It’s the resources combined that make it possible,” Koumoutsos said of the project.

Both Koumoutsos and Rowe agreed that this collaboration may lead to other shared building projects in the future.

“Our organizations have aligning missions,” Rowe said.

The home is being built in Springfield’s Clifton Court neighborhood, an area where, before the housing crash in 2008, Neighborhood Housing Partnership built some single-family homes across from The Dome, formerly South High School. Now the organization is revisiting the area and, Koumoutsos said, hopes to assemble a “core group of redevelopment.”

The future homeowner, Clarice Crowe, enrolled in the housing partnership’s homebuyer education program more than a year ago and had been searching for an affordable home in the area. Fuller and NHP’s collaboration was the perfect fit.

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Crowe, who will be living in the house with her two granddaughters, said after waiting so many years to have a home of her own, waiting these last few months will be easy. However, as the walls have come up and the house has started to take shape, she and her granddaughters have become more anxious for the big move.

“I get a little more excited every time we drive by the house and see that more of it is up,” Crowe said.

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