The local leaders who comprise the Fahe Membership Network continue to provide homeownership, job creation, drug recovery services, and other necessary and holistic services in a safe manner to ensure that Appalachia is resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. The groundwork they are laying now, which is creating jobs and homes, will provide stability and growth that will be necessary to support the difficult tasks they will lead during the economic recovery soon to follow.
Several Fahe Members have been publically recognized during the last week for the investments and opportunity they bring to their communities:
In Birmingham, a citywide initiative is in place to remove a high number of blighted housing and to restore and improve functional homes. Financing is especially tight for people in the Deep South, especially in light of C-19. Neighborhood Housing Services of Birmingham is partnering with the City of Birmingham on the Citywide Rehabilitation Program, an initiative lauded by the city Mayor as part of their goal to “build a better Birmingham.” The Citywide Rehabilitation Program provides repairs and upgrades for low-to-moderate income homeowners, with an average investment of more than $12,000.
Quality and affordable housing is always in high demand in eastern Kentucky, which has long faced an economic downturn due to loss of coal mining jobs. The Housing Development Alliance is set to build 15 new energy efficient homes in Hazard, KY after the Allias construction project moves out of the next phase. This project is utilizing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds awarded to the City of Hazard for land acquisition, water and sewer lines, and access roads.
“If you look at the city’s makeup, this will be the first true subdivision that’s been built in the downtown area since they built the houses out by the hospital,” said Hazard Mayor Donald Mobelini. “These are going to be 15 really nice homes.”
Once completed, the homes will be sold to eligible clients.
There is a need for increased access to addiction recovery services in small towns across Appalachia. Several Fahe Members oversee essential recovery programs, including the operation of recovery facilities, job training, and transitional housing. Kentucky River Foothills received a $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration to continue and expand their addiction recovery services for the next 3 years.
“This three year project will enable the MORE (Madison Opioid Response and Empowerment) Consortium to strengthen substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services in Madison County.” said KRFDC Executive Director/CEO Brian Mullins.
With people facing more economic hardships due to C-19, families need affordable rental options now more than ever. Community Housing Partners (CHP) broke ground on a long-awaited $174 million development that will include much needed housing for families and individuals including 216 affordable rental apartments, 63 affordable senior independent living apartments, 175 market rate townhomes and a 12-acre public park. CHP is partnering with Fairfax County and other partners to turn this vacant site into mixed income housing which has access to the county’s new multimodal transportation initiative which improves access to quality public transportation.
The West Virginian economy was hit especially hard due to the loss of coal mining jobs over the years. Coalfield Development Corporation, who has developed a nationally recognized workforce training program which targets out of work coal miners, is taking part in a new job creation initiative expected to create 110 jobs, retain 90 jobs, and generate $6 million in private investment. As part of a 10.1 Million dollar investment in West Virginia from the US Department of Commerce, Coalfield Development received a $1.7 million grant to rehabilitate three buildings in downtown Matewan to establish the Pathfinder Center, a job-creation hub and training facility. The project will be matched with $437,000 in local funds.