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.
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, 3 bedroom, 2 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% 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. Apply and learn more at heartoforegon.org/prineville-home
About Heart of Oregon Corps
Heart of Oregon Corps is a nonprofit organization invested in inspiring and empowering change in the lives of Central Oregon youth through jobs, education, and stewardship. Their programming creates pathways out of poverty while stimulating regional economic growth. They apply a “work-earn-learn” model that invests in local young people, many of whom come from disadvantaged backgrounds, to prepare them for the workforce and to encourage their self-sufficiency.
About YouthBuild USA
YouthBuild USA is the nonprofit support center for 300 local YouthBuild programs operating in 21 countries, with 252 programs in 46 U.S. states and 48 programs in 20 other countries. In YouthBuild programs, unemployed, low-income, and out-of-school young people ages 16 to 24 work toward their high school diploma or equivalency, while learning job skills by building affordable housing and other community assets in their neighborhoods and engaging in community service and leadership training. Proven effective by the most rigorous program evaluation research, YouthBuild’s comprehensive model gives graduates the confidence and tools they need to become strong, responsible and ethical young leaders. For more information, visit youthbuild.org.