Niagara Gazette — A faith-based organization working to restore city homes got a big check this week.
The Isaiah 61 Project, a not-for-profit that buys and restores city-owned homes while providing job training to underemployed and unemployed people, received a $35,000 gift from Key Bank that will be used to buy materials for the group’s second project home.
Jim Haid, the organization’s project coordinator, stood in front of the dilapidated 16th Street home Friday morning and excepted the check during a press event attended by city employees, officials from the bank and representatives from other organizations that have been involved with the group’s work.
Haid said the bank’s gift will help his organization and the neighborhood, which is filled with well-kept houses with blooming gardens, by bringing life back to the house.
“We are reclaiming the city, literally, one home, one family, one person at a time,” Haid said.
The gift will not only help the organization restore the house but will provide a “working classroom” for the students who will earn certificates from Orleans Niagara BOCES will preparing the house to be sold to a family.
“We can reclaim a house, reclaim a city and put these individuals who are unemployed and underemployed back to work so we can reduce the unemployment rate in Niagara Falls and lift the city back up to its greatness once again,” Haid said.
Key Bank joins a long list of donors who have seen promise in the project. The John R. Oishei Foundation gave a major donation of $200,000 earlier this year and other companies such as First Niagara bank have given their financial support.
In addition, many companies have offered in-kind donations such as materials, labor or technical assistance. Mikelly Contracting has helped by assisting with training and acting as the general contractor on the organization’s first project house on Whitney Avenue. H.W. Bryk & Sons Plumbing and Newman Electric have also helped with training.