Having a roof over your head and a place to call home has been part of human history since time immemorial. From the makeshift caves and huts of our early ancestors to the more modern homes that many of us have become accustomed to, a home has taken many shapes over the centuries.
Sadly, obtaining affordable and safe housing, especially in underserved communities, has become increasingly difficult. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “only 36 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households.”* This forces underserved families to make desperate concessions to survive, living in buildings with predatorily high rent or unsafe living conditions, and in the worst cases on the streets with no home at all.
Thankfully, the Drew Lewis Foundation’s Blue House Project is dedicated to improving this lack of affordable and safe housing. Our Blue House Project is a privately funded homeownership program where houses in the Grant Beach neighborhood are bought, renovated, and then rented to RISE members who have graduated our program with the goal of selling the home to them within two years. Families are chosen through a screening process based on need and ability to purchase the home. The program includes education on financial literacy, banking, home buying, and homeownership.
Housing programs like our Blue House Project provide a unique path to homeownership that many families from underserved communities or backgrounds could not normally afford. It provides them with a hand up to help them become responsible homeowners who can provide stability to themselves and their family. The skills they learn through the program can be passed down to their children as well, preparing them from an early age for when they become homeowners themselves.
What was once a popular drug house in the community has been acquired through our Blue House Project to be fully renovated, protecting this community from further tragedy
The impact the Blue House Project has on the Grant Beach neighborhood is not to be understated. Not only does it improve the lives of individual families but it also improves the community’s overall morale and appearance. Realizing that the houses around them are being transformed and revitalized, neighbors are inspired to follow suit and improve the appearance and quality of their homes too.
Such lasting change is not created overnight, however. It is done through the diligent work of the Drew Lewis Foundation and Blue House Project teams, as well as the support of monetary and in-kind donors. Volunteers are always a huge resource, as these transformations, while vital to improving communities, can be both labor- and cost-intensive. Yet, when a house that was once a center for crime and a blight on the community turns into an attractive and welcoming home for a new family, it makes all of the sweat and tears worth it.
Housing programs are always a big undertaking, no matter the size of the organization or the passion of those who choose to tackle the housing crisis head-on. However, in order to create lasting change in underserved communities, sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. In doing so, you can change the lives of not only a family in need, but also those in the community.
If you would like to make a direct impact on the lack of affordable housing in Springfield, Missouri, you can do so in the following ways:
Email email@example.com for more information
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a monetary or in-kind donation
Email email@example.com in order to volunteer your time
Together, we can make the world a better place for individuals looking to build a better life for themselves and their families!
*National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2022, April). The gap: A shortage of affordable homes, p. 2. https://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/gap/Gap-Report_2022.pdf