EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Dozens of families in Evansville will benefit from new homes and renovations on current houses thanks to a big investment. Vectren is investing $5.5 million into workforce housing throughout the city over the next four years.
“It does take all hands on deck to create positive change in a neighborhood, and we’re honored to be partners with you in this important work,” says Brad Ellsworth, Director of External Affairs for Vectren.
This first $1 million is supporting housing and community development initiatives in the Jacobsville neighborhood. It is possible thanks to collaboration among Catholic Charities, Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, and HOPE of Evansville.
Evansville Land Bank provided most of the land upon which the homes will be built. Habitat for Humanity of Evansville plans to build at least 20 homes serving households whose incomes fall between 35 percent to 80 percent of the area median income.
Tiffany Sherman and her daughter qualify and have been chosen for this first home.
“I had the pleasure just a little bit ago of meeting Tiffany and her daughter. This house, this site is where their new home will be. Tiffany’s dream of home ownership really epitomizes the dreams of so many people in our community, people who want safe, decent housing for them and their families,” says Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
Vectren’s remaining $4.5 million investment will support multi-family workforce housing throughout the city.
“Emotionally overwhelmed, happy, wanted to say ‘Woo, we got the wall up!’ Physically not too hard because there were a lot of people out here helping. It just felt like God was lifting that wall up. It was a great feeling,” says Sherman.
Sherman and her 14-year-old daughter Quinteria are building their home alongside Habitat for Humanity. It is the first of 26 homes coming to the Jacobsville neighborhood.
“I love working out here, raising my walls, I work, this is an awesome program to be in. I recommend it to anybody. It makes you happy to be out here to be able to build, work, and just to be able to be a part of it,” says Sherman.
The homes are intended for working families within a specific income range, working families like Sherman.
“I always wanted to own our own home. That’s the goal, you know teaching her that you can do anything that you want to do, you know as long as you work hard,” says Sherman.
Mayor Winnecke says Sherman’s dream reflects that of hundreds of others, to raise kids in a safe, decent home of their own.
“It is quality housing. It is beautiful housing. It is efficient housing, and it is affordable housing for our nurses, our teachers, our plastic manufacturers, and on and on,” says Hope of Evansville’s Josh Case.
The city estimates the gap in affordable housing is between 1,500 and 3,000 units. That is an issue Tiffany does not worry about as she prepares to move in this summer.
“It makes me happy. It makes me happy. Hopeful,” says Sherman.
Most of these homes will be built on Land Bank lots.