Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps Celebrates Homeownership Month

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Clinch-Powell is celebrating 30 years of service in the community this year! Since 1989, the organization has been building strong communities, caring for people, and protecting natural resources. A major component of CP’s mission is building and nurturing homeownership, especially in rural communities. Whether clients are current homeowners looking for foreclosure counseling or home repairs, buying or building a home for the first time, or needing a game plan to get mortgage-ready, Clinch-Powell can help.

In 2018, Clinch-Powell

  • Built, rehabbed, or repaired 26 homes.
  • Provided counseling services to 194 families.
  • Facilitated access to $2.54 million in affordable mortgage loans.
  • Placed 23 Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members with housing organizations.

AmeriCorps members have been crucial to Clinch-Powell’s success in implementing housing programs over the years. Host to the Appalachia CARES program since 1996, the organization has helped connect 750+ service-minded citizens with community based organizations across the state to serve in AmeriCorps positions. Members with housing organizations have learned the ins and outs of home repair applications, taught the community DIY home weatherization tips, built and repaired homes, and gained certifications in various forms of counseling. The lasting impact of their service can be seen in the current make-up of the Clinch-Powell team – over 70% of full time staff have served in AmeriCorps for at least one summer along their career journey! But members don’t just serve in the main office. Last year, 23 AmeriCorps members were placed with other community organizations offering housing services in East Tennessee, overseen by the Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps program. Here are some highlights from service partners.

Appalachian Outreach – Jefferson City, Tennessee

1 FT member, 2 HT members, 10 MT members (summer team)

Appalachian Outreach is a faith-based poverty relief ministry serving Jefferson, Grainger, Hamblen and Cocke Counties. Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members serve in several capacities, including assisting with client intake and assessment, sorting and organizing donated goods, supporting programs and classes at the women’s and children’s shelter, and coordinating volunteer teams to repair homes for lower-income citizens. This year’s summer team is comprised of service-learning students from Carson-Newman and other young adults who have a passion to serve. Along with regional volunteer teams, members are scheduled to repair 11 homes this summer.

Pictured: Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members on the Appalachian Outreach Summer Team in front of the organization’s headquarters in Jefferson City, TN.

Central Services – Morristown, TN

1 FT member, 2 HT members

Serving Hamblen County for 50 years, Central Services offers a wide variety of programs that provide financial assistance and crisis intervention, with the ultimate goal of self-reliance and stopping the cycle of poverty. AmeriCorps members assist in the food pantry, which served more than 19,000 people last year, as well as the client intake and assistance department. Through funding partners as well as in-house programs, Central Services facilitated more than $1 million in emergency utility and rent assistance for Hamblen County residents last year. Kendra Conroy started serving her Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps term with Central Services in January. She applied for the position after seeing the impact the organization had in the community when she was a volunteer. A social work student at ETSU, she also saw the potential for this experience to benefit her career in the long run. When asked what she has learned so far, she said, “It only takes a small handful of individuals who care and want to make a difference to have a huge impact on the lives of others and the environment we live in.”

Pictured: Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps member, Kendra, loads and sorts items for the Central Services Food Pantry.

Knoxville Habitat for Humanity – Knoxville, TN

2 FT members

The mission of Habitat for Humanity is to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter. In Knoxville, Habitat builds 15-20 houses per year, with homeowners investing 500 hours of sweat equity into their new homes. Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members help the community by serving alongside them to build these homes, but they also benefit greatly from valuable construction skills, volunteer management experience, and leadership development.

Pictured: Paul Scott and Matthew Wilson, Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps members serving with Knoxville Habitat for Humanity, load in materials to prepare for a Saturday housing build with volunteers.

Lakeway Area Habitat for Humanity – Morristown, TN

1 FT member, 2 HT members

In addition to home builds, Habitat affiliates operate ReStores to offer citizens a way to purchase home goods and building materials at low cost, as well as a place to donate used items and give them new life. Appalachia CARES members serving at Lakeway Area Habitat for Humanity assist in acquiring and sorting donated building materials and other items for home builds and the ReStore, and engage community members in service-learning projects, specifically involving saving energy and resources as a homeowner.

Pictured: Appalachia CARES AmeriCorps member, Bernice Shockley, repurposed old fan blades into home décor to demonstrate “upcycling” for clients in the Habitat ReStore.