2010-12-01-182921CIMG1762-EDIT-press releaseStaff Helps Community Volunteers Unable to Make Home Repairs

Neyer employees returned to South Cumminsville October 22 to help community volunteers with home repairs for the fourth year in a row.

Sixteen employees took a work day to do exterior repairs to two houses and completely gutted and repaired a third.

South Cumminsville has been distressed for the past 30 years, since I-74 was built and dissected the city, said Ms. Marilyn Evans, a South Cumminsville homeowner. Then “red-lining” began, a now-illegal practice that denied or limited financial services to people of color or those living in economically-depressed neighborhoods. The community has struggled ever since.

“The community used to be beautiful and had several businesses,” said Evans. “Now we’re struggling to get back to where we were.”

The recent spate of foreclosures citywide and nationwide did not help homeowners’ current situations, but things are slowly starting to look up. Many people lost their homes due to predatory loans and several elderly moved into nursing homes to avoid foreclosure.

More recently, South Cumminsville homeowners have made it through this most recent economic crisis because Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) helped them become more knowledgeable about the financial responsibilities of home ownership.

WIN is a non-profit organization that helps low-and moderate-income residents bring stability to their neighborhoods by helping families in the areas of housing development, foreclosure prevention, home ownership, leadership development, and energy conservation.

“If it wasn’t for WIN, South Cumminsville would not be on its way up. It’s the partnership we have with the community that’s helping to revive this area today,” said Mary Metzmeier, development coordinator with WIN.

Neyer employees worked on a home owned by WIN. WIN plans to find new, first-time homeowners for two homes it owns to help increase homeownership in the community..

The home had previously housed Jesuit priests, but is now vacant. Neyer employees gutted the entire house and boarded up exterior windows. They removed cabinets and light fixtures and cleaned out the basement. Drywall was also removed from the third floor. All salvageable items were donated to Building Value, a non-profit organization founded by the Easter Seals. Building Value takes reusable building materials destined for the landfill and resells them to the public.

The other two houses Neyer worked on were for two long-time South Cumminsville residents. Ms. Linda Bohannan lost her husband last summer and has been in and out of the hospital with an illness, said Metzmeier. As a result, it has been difficult for her to keep up with maintenance. Her gutters were clogged, which resulted in periodic flooding in her basement. Her gutters were cleaned to reduce that risk.

Ms. Evans, known throughout South Cumminsville as ‘Granny,’ also benefitted from Neyer’s community service day. She has lived in South Cumminsville for more than 30 years and is the president of the South Cumminsville Community Council. Ms. Evans is active is a variety of community activities from implementing after-school programs to starting the South Cumminsville Bears, a little league football team.

Neyer employees patched two holes in Ms. Evans’s roof.

Dan Neyer, president of Neyer Properties, sat on WIN’s board for more than 20 years, and is a former board president. Neyer was an inaugural inductee to the WIN Hall of Fame in 2006.

“We always look forward to spending a day doing something useful with our construction skills,” said Neyer. “Our team gets a great deal of satisfaction by helping those who help WIN and the South Cumminsville community.”