OSMRE / VISTA Team Projects
Housing Development Alliance
OSMRE / VISTA: Emma Aschbacher
Supervisor: Chris Doll
Address: P.O. Box7284, Hazard, Kentucky 41701
County: Perry, Knott, Breathitt and Leslie
Voice Telephone: 606-436-0497
Web site: www.hdahome.org
Bureau: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE)
Development Alliance’s capacity to provide safe, decent, affordable housing through increasing the number and utilization of regional and local volunteers participating with the Housing Development Alliance as well as increasing the level on non-governmental financial support received.
About the Surrounding Community
The Housing Development Alliance addresses the problem of substandard housing in southeastern Kentucky by creating safe, decent and affordable housing in Breathitt, Knott, Leslie and Perry. In our 4 county service area 1.7% of the occupied housing units in lack complete plumbing (451 homes). This is more than 3 times the national rate. 44.4% of the owner occupied units are worth less than $50,000 per year, compared to the national level of 8.6% of housing units worth less than $50,000. Additionally, the median home value in our service area is $55,700 compared to the national value of $179,900; even the median home value in Kentucky of $121,600 is more than twice that in our area. All four counties are among the poorest in the nation as measured by percent of population living in poverty. According to research gathered by the Housing Assistance Council, Breathitt County is the 48th poorest county in the nation with 33% of its population living in poverty. Knott County is the 74th poorest county in the nation with 31% of its population living in poverty. Leslie is the 57th poorest county in the nation with 33% of its population living in poverty. Perry County is the 102nd poorest county in the nation with 29% of its population living in poverty. Almost 40% of children in the four counties live in poverty. In the four counties over 7,800 households live on less than $10,000 per year income. Based on nationally recognized affordability guidelines, these households have less than $350 per month for housing costs including utilities. We have severely poor households, who cannot even afford the substandard housing which is currently available in the region. These families are stuck in a repetitive cycle of poverty.
The project will move our community out of poverty in several ways. First and most important, more people will have a safe, stable, and affordable place to live. Research has also shown that families that own a home surpass those that do not in a variety of positive social measures – educational achievement, health outcomes, and mental wellness to name a few. Families that have a home that is affordable to own and maintain are also much less likely to live in poverty than families that either do not own a house or have a home that is not affordable.
Secondly, while volunteering we teach local volunteers carpentry. Many of our regular local volunteers are young people from the high school and from other social service programs. Often these volunteers are from lower income backgrounds. By instructing them in carpentry (even briefly), we provide a job skill that may lead to employment down the road.
Finally, by involving the entire community in meeting its own housing needs, we open up the discussion that we are all “in it together”. Hopefully, this project will help everyone realize that if one member of the community is in poverty, we are all in poverty and only by working together can we move the whole community out of poverty.
Sponsors and Partners