(Heart of Oregon YouthBuild young people are building an affordable home in Prineville, OR, to be sold to an eligible family this fall | Photo courtesy of Heart of Oregon Corps)
Each morning, about 30 young people congregate at a quiet cul-de-sac in downtown Prineville with a common goal: to build an affordable home from the ground up. These young people are members of Heart of Oregon Corps’ YouthBuild program. On July 2, YouthBuild participants, community members and Heart of Oregon staff came together to raise the walls of this affordable home.
A total of 60-70 young people will work on this project by the time it’s completed in February 2020. Two of the 70 young people are Koral Fisher (17) and Bryce Fear (16), both Prineville residents and members of the Heart of Oregon YouthBuild program. Connecting with their community in a new way has brought about new perspective for these young people. “I didn’t know how much I could impact the community until I joined YouthBuild, just knowing what this house is bringing to the people who need it,” Fisher shares. “Building this house has brought so much potential out of me and my co-workers.”
The home at 263 SE Laurel is the first home that Heart of Oregon YouthBuild will be developing as the sole proprietor. The home is an energy efficient, three bedroom, two bathroom single-family home, located on a plot donated to Heart of Oregon by the Crook County Habitat for Humanity following the closing of that chapter in 2016.
Laura Handy, executive director of Heart of Oregon Corps, comments, “Not only do these youth experience an increased confidence in their skills and their abilities, but also increased confidence in their ability to be a part of their communities.” She continues to explain why it’s critical for these young people to engage with their community at this stage in their lives. “A lot of these young people were struggling in high school before, or maybe left high school without completing, so this is an opportunity for them to reengage with their education while also building leadership skills and connecting with their communities.”
Heart of Oregon Corps (HOC) trains tomorrow’s workforce today by providing “work, earn, learn” opportunities for Central Oregon youth of all abilities and ethnicities. Founded in 2000, HOC helps young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds earn their way to success. This summer and fall, youth from HOC’s YouthBuild program are completing the Prineville home and another home in Sisters in partnership with Sisters Habitat for Humanity. These homes are providing opportunities for local youth to learn leadership and apply homebuilding skills that will help them gain future employment opportunities—benefiting the youth, their future households, and the communities that they live in.
Affordable housing is a pressing issue throughout Central Oregon. HOC YouthBuild youth are tackling the issue, one household at a time — since 2009, Heart of Oregon YouthBuild has built or rehabbed 26 affordable homes in Central Oregon.
Heart of Oregon Corps is currently accepting applications for eligible applicants interested in purchasing the home. They will be offering two more informational sessions during the application period. Applicant households must be 80 percent of area median income or below; all interested families must attend one info session. The organization also welcomes referral partners and members of the press.
REQUIRED INFO SESSION DATES: INFO SESSION LOCATION:
July 31, 10:00-11:30 AM Heart of Oregon Prineville Office
Sept 4, 5:30-7:00 PM 495 Locust Ave
The application deadline is September 13, 2019.