Niagara University seeks to embody the vision of St. Vincent de Paul in Scholarship, Teaching & Service. In particular, the Levesque Insititute for Civic Engagement sponsors the South End Housing Initiative.
The homes of two veteran families in Niagara Falls’ (New York, USA) South End received a makeover Sept. 4-5 thanks to a grant obtained by Niagara University through Home Depot.
The award provided funding for materials. More than 20 volunteers from Home Depot were onsite to assist with the housing renovations, as were partners from the South End Housing Initiative, including representatives from Niagara University’s Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement.
“This type of partnership is an excellent example of how Home Depot gives back to veterans who selflessly served our country” said Patti Wrobel, executive director of the Levesque Institute. “Home Depot has been an excellent partner in promoting revitalization efforts in the South End of Niagara Falls.”
Announced last November, the South End Housing Initiative is a collaboration of 25 local entities committed to assisting the neighborhood’s revitalization through blight removal, minor repairs to homes, and landscaping and energy upgrades. Its goal is to encourage new homeowners to invest in the area by improving curb appeal.
Home Depot works with local schools, churches and nonprofit entities to help build better communities. Its foundation offers grant awards to 501c-designated organizations and tax-exempt public service agencies in the U.S. that are using the power of volunteers to improve the community.
The goal of the South End Housing Initiative is to revitalize and expand housing from Fourth Street to Portage Road with the surrounding perimeter from Niagara Street to Pine Avenue. The revitalization of this corridor of homes will encourage economic development on the outlying areas of the neighborhoods. By refurbishing the existing homes and looking at new housing units, the neighborhoods gain “curb appeal” to possible investors and expand mixed use development throughout the South End of the city. Return on this investment in this gateway corridor – that will spur economic development and change perceptions
[See photo gallery below]
The Wider Context
To mark this 400th Anniversary of the Charism, the Vincentian Family decided to launch this major global project aimed at reducing and, where possible, ending homelessness in the countries in which it works. It will involve both immediate holistic care for those suffering homelessness and a campaign for systemic change in the way that homelessness is tackled at a local, regional and global level.
- To make a real and sustainable difference to the lives of thousands of homeless people;
- To connect Vincentians working across the broad spectrum of homelessness;
- To support and develop existing and emerging leaders;
- To share best practices and research;
- To encourage and support the growth of new and innovative services;
- To support lobbying at a local, regional and global level in support of homeless persons;
- To develop and make available formation materials in support of this initiative with respect to spirituality.
Other US initiatives
The two-bedroom house lies in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, and is run by the Vincentian homelessness charity, Depaul USA. It will become home to an individual or family who have experienced or are at risk of homelessness.
The 13 Houses Campaign is a Famvin Homeless Alliance initiative supporting Vincentians to create housing for street homeless people, refugees and those displaced from their home, and slum dwellers in inadequate housing.