Niagara Gazette — A pair of Niagara Falls housing organizations have teamed up to provide training in the skilled trades in the city’s North End.
The Highland Community Revitalization Committee and the Isaiah 61 Project are coming together to establish a training program similar to one currently run by the Isaiah 61 Project downtown.
Jim Haid, the program director for the Isaiah 61 Project, said the partnership makes sense for many reasons, but one of the most compelling is that his organization is in the process of renovating a vacant North End fire house into offices, a training facility and a reuse store.
“I think it’s a good way for us to put our foot in the door and get to know that community, part of the city a little bit more,” Haid said, “but also to begin to work with some of the potential students in that area.”
Haid’s organization began recruiting and training unemployed and underemployed city residents with the help of Orleans/Niagara BOCES instructors in the fall of 2012.
His organization partnered with the city and has been buying vacant, city-owned houses using them as working classrooms with the help of local contractors. After the houses are restored they are to be sold, with the city’s Community Development department providing low-interest mortgage options through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development loans, to low and moderate income residents at the approximate cost of materials.
The partnership with HCRC will basically be an expansion of the downtown program, Haid said.
“It’s no different than what we’re doing now,” he explained. “It’s almost like a satellite class.”
The Isaiah 61 Project is close to completing its first renovation house on Whitney Avenue and will soon begin work on its next house on 16th Street.
Haid said his organization and HCRC plan to find a North End house for the next renovation project.