Pilot Program Will Turn Vacant Homes Into Afforable Housing In Driving Park Community

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Community organizers have made an effort to rehabilitate vacant properties in one Columbus neighborhood.

Government agencies joined forces with a community & faith-based organization to provide affordable housing for families on Saturday.

The partnership of the City of Columbus Land Development Office, the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (County Land Bank), Chase, Bethany Baptist Church and the Gertrude Wood Community Foundation (GWCF) broke ground on the "One Street @ a Time" pilot project geared toward reducing the number of vacant and abandoned houses in the community.

The first home is located at 876 Ellsworth Avenue and it's neglect and dilapidated condition is evident of the need for change.

Tracee Black-Fall along with other representatives with the Gertrude Wood Community Foundation want to see less violence and more opportunity in this east side neighborhood.

"When you just drive up and down the streets and see the number of vacant homes and you know the number of people who are in need of housing, families who are homeless children, then you can't help but think there's something we can do about it," said Elnora Jenkins, the executive director of the Gertrude Wood Community Foundation.

Organizers say there are 66 vacant properties along Ellsworth and Miller Avenues between Livingston Avenue and Whittier Street.

Organizers are hoping to rehabilitate 30 of those home in 3 years with the goal of increasing affordable housing for families in need.

"This project is really dedicated to this community, we want to bring about a sense of hope and faith that we can make some changes in this community," said Jenkins.

Construction on the pilot property is expected to begin in early November.

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