The Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky (HHCK), an NLIHC State Coalition Partner, operates Build Corps, one of the oldest AmeriCorps programs in the country. Since 1994, Build Corps has helped HHCK work to reduce the risk of homelessness and provide affordable housing for people in Kentucky.
Build Corps partners with nonprofit housing organizations throughout Kentucky to build and repair low income housing, and to transition individuals experiencing or threatened with homelessness into safe, decent, affordable housing. The program recruits volunteers who work with nonprofit housing groups on housing construction and repair, intensive case management, financial empowerment, or housing and worker rights education.
Build Corps members work with small organizations that would not be able to provide the same level of services without the added capacity of volunteers. One such organization is the Gateway Homeless Coalition, which serves five counties in eastern Kentucky. “With the introduction of AmeriCorps members to our program, clients are now able to meet with case managers on a daily basis to receive support, advocacy, referrals, and other services needed to stabilize their situations. The most tangible results have been a more rapid transition for our clients from homelessness to permanent housing and greater access to needed services,” said Paul Semisch, Assistant Director of the Gateway Homeless Coalition.
Build Corps members also staff three supportive housing programs that HHCK administers in partnership with the Kentucky Housing Corporation and the Community Action Council of the Bluegrass.
- Housing Now is a supportive housing program that serves homeless individuals or families who have at least one member of the household with a disability that prevents them from being stably housed. Housing Now provides permanent rental housing vouchers to those referred by local homeless service providers, domestic violence shelters, and comprehensive care agencies.
- The Samaritan Program, which serves unaccompanied adults with disabilities, operates three supportive housing projects in the state.
- The BONUS Permanent Supportive Housing Program provides permanent supportive housing in 16 counties throughout central Kentucky, offering long-term permanent rental assistance and supportive services to those experiencing homelessness.
The 2012 update to the state 10-year plan to end homelessness highlighted the impact of the HCCK AmeriCorps Build Corps Program. Since 2009, 152 members were placed in over 30 housing nonprofits to help people who are homeless. They helped 15,624 individuals maintain their housing; placed 3,676 homeless individuals into safe, healthy, and affordable housing; and built, rehabilitated, and weatherized 286 homes.
Amanda Davis, a Build Corps member who staffs both Housing Now and the Samaritan Program, and Brandon May, who staffs the BONUS program, both began their service in September. “I’ve realized that it can be difficult to document chronic homelessness,” said Ms. Davis. “I’ve learned a great deal in the first three months of service about housing programs, other community resources, and how to provide the best service possible to individuals with very diverse strengths, needs, and backgrounds,” said Mr. May.
“It’s been really exciting to see the great work Build Corps members are doing around the state,” said Curtis Stauffer, who joined HHCK as Executive Director in October. “The program is central to helping us achieve our mission.”
For more information, contact Curtis Stauffer at email@example.com