The Housing Program at East Side Heart & Home Family Center seeks to improve the quality of life for low-income families in East St. Louis by constructing quality, affordable homes, by providing free homeownership education, (i.e. credit counseling, budgeting, home maintenance, minor home repairs, etc.) and by partnering with our clients to build their credit, secure a home loan, and ultimately become homeowners. In August 2017, we completed our 21st house, and by the end of the month, a new family had moved in and is currently making it their home!
For over twenty years, the Housing Program has worked directly with the residents of East St. Louis to revitalize, stabilize, and sustain a neighborhood community that had previously been devastated by deindustrialization, population decline, poverty, and crime. The Housing Program seeks to bring people of diverse racial, social, and economic backgrounds together in ways that build lasting relationships, challenge preconceived ideas and prejudicial attitudes, and cultivate both individual transformations and systemic changes in East St. Louis.
- Twenty-one homes for low-income women and families have been built in East St. Louis—eighteen in the Olivette Park neighborhood
- Fourteen families have assumed the mortgage on their homes and have become homeowners and three more are working with our Housing Director to take the steps necessary to secure a loan and to become homeowners in the near future
- Sixteen additional lots have been purchased at county auctions to be cleared, cleaned, and maintained as future sites for housing development
- Nine derelict houses have been demolished as a means of revitalizing and stabilizing the neighborhood
- Housing Program participants have learned basic skills necessary to be effective homeowners including home repair, long-term maintenance, and financial budgeting
- East St. Louis residents establish and build their own personal credit and equity
- Sidewalks have been built and repaired throughout the neighborhood to enhance safety and unity
- A neighborhood watch has been established to ensure community security and stability
- A thriving and vibrant neighborhood has been created and a strong sense of community has been fostered among the families in the Housing Program, other residents in the neighborhood, and ESH&H Family Center