A concept paper to collaboratively develop a model program to improve energy-efficiency and safety for low-income seniors was submitted by Hope Meadows, Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County and Rantoul Township High School. Their proposal was selected as the Foundation’s first Collective Impact Grant project.
The Broad-based Problem. Many economically vulnerable seniors live in older homes that have poor insulation, inadequate security and accessibility issues. Without the means to pay for needed repairs, many face the real possibility of having to choose between paying high heating and cooling costs and buying sufficient food. Food insecurity is a significant problem among low-income seniors. The Proposed Solution. Each of the three partners will contribute to the completion and success of the project.
- Hope Meadows is a multi-generational 22-acre community of homes built on the former Chanute Air Force Base grounds. Many of the homes are senior-occupies built 50 to 60 years ago. The homes are poorly insulated, resulting in high utility bills for its economically vulnerable population. The project participants will evaluate needs and select homes with the greatest needs for weatherproofing and accessibility accommodations.
- Rantoul Township High School, with 740 total students, offers construction/repair, woodworking, electrical and other vocational classes that prepare students for building and construction related work. The school seeks to build both career skills and service learning in their students. The students will work with Habitat for Humanity staff to go into the homes to do the agreed upon work.
- Habitat for Humanity of Champaign County works with all willing partners to improve the lives of families needing safe, affordable, decent housing. Recently, Habitat has begun rehabbing homes. Habitat staff is highly experienced and skilled in evaluation, materials acquisition and construction and will supervise and instruct students.
The project is a win, win, win for the Hope Meadows seniors whose homes are enhanced, the students who will learn and work on real projects that will offer them the satisfaction of knowing that their work has helped the seniors in whose homes they worked. Habitat will have helped both the seniors and the students.
Collective Impact Grants are intended to combine community resources efficiently and serve as models for nonprofits working together to create greater value and good for the community. The Community Foundation’s W. Barclay and Frederick C. Brasch Endowment will provide $150,000 to be shared by the three partners over three-years.