Project Neighbors and Housing Opportunities are out to make sure that everyone who resides in the city of Valparaiso has a roof over his or her head.
After opening Neighbors Place - A Residence for Women in December of 2014 on College Avenue, Project Neighbors found a new place that will become a new home for many individuals living on low incomes.
“Dayspring Women’s Center said that they wanted to build some residences so we started looking at different buildings,” Paul Schreiner, Executive Director for Project Neighbors said. “Dayspring had little experience with real estate and remodeling so they asked us for help. So I thought we could do this and duplicate what we did at the HealthLinc building so I asked Caroline Shook [of Housing Opportunities] if there was a need for this.”
And Caroline said that there indeed was a need. There was a need and a waiting list, in fact. So Housing Opportunities suggested that they buy the building and partner with Project Neighbors to build the units. Currently, Project Neighbors is waiting on approval for a building permit and once that is approved they will take the next step.
For those who may not know, Project Neighbors is a nonprofit organization that takes on opportunities to help those in need in the local communities. Though there is no clear mission, it is quite clear that a huge impact is being made wherever Project Neighbors does its work.
“Valpo is becoming a tough place to live for those with lower incomes. It’s an affluent community and land is scarce. It’s a wonderful town with a lot to offer and a magnet for people with means,” Paul said. “Providing housing at all economic levels serves the community well.”
The new location will be on 1117 North Calumet Avenue in the space that used to be occupied by Sun Appliances. Plans to renovate the space into 14 single-room units are under way. The apartments will be self-contained and include a kitchenette, full bathroom, sleeping and sitting area. There will also be a common area that the ladies will all share. The rent is expected to be about $500 per month, which will include the cost of utilities.
“The new space will be modeled after Neighbors Place,” Paul said. “The city has mandated that this will also be housing for single women.
Take a look at this video of the creation of Neighbors Place!
Housing Opportunities plans to purchase and manage the facility, as well as provide important skills to the residents including: job training, case management, life skills, education, and more. This way, tenants will be able to secure employment, manage their finances, and ultimately better themselves.
Housing Opportunities is also a nonprofit organization that provides housing solutions that are safe and affordable, and client support services that promote self-reliance.
Prospective opening date of the apartments will be Fall of 2016.
The process of renovation will involve professionals and volunteers. If you are looking for more information or to volunteer contact Paul Schreiner1927@aol.com or call Housing Opportunities (219) 548-2800.
“Helping to build much needed structures like this gives the community a sense of ownership,” Paul said. “Anytime you can make a significant contribution to the lives of people it feels good. It’s something that I like doing. We have opportunities in life to help people and if we seize those opportunities it is life enriching for everyone.”