Months after a historic night of tornados devastated their Bowling Green duplex, Austin Hyde and girlfriend Andrea Jones were still homeless. Frustrated with hopping from hotel to hotel and finally to a camper, Hyde sought help—and found it—through Community Ventures and the collective effort of diverse organizations bringing aid to southern Kentucky’s hardest-hit regions.
“When we heard about the disasters in Western Kentucky, we wanted to try to find a way to bring all of our resources to bear in those communities,” explained Brenda Weaver, CV’s President of Housing and Lending. “We had an existing partner—Land Betterment, and they provide container homes which can be short-term, intermediate, or permanent housing.”
Hyde was identified by the Housing Authority of Bowling Green and the United Way as a good candidate for assistance, so working together with the Land Betterment Corp. and Habitat for Humanity, Weaver was able to officially present the couple with keys to a brand-new container home on July 15.
“Container homes are actually old transport or storage containers that have been repurposed for housing. The beauty of them is they can be fitted up to be a nice, decent, affordable housing unit fairly quickly,” Weaver continued. “We provided a sponsorship for this first unit here in Bowling Green, so that we could help Austin by covering the cost of having the unit put together, shipped, set up on the lot, and then also providing the utilities for 12 months.”
Eko Homes, a division of the Land Betterment Corp. that is focused on fostering positive social and environmental impact, delivered and outfitted the container home which now sits on a lot provided by Habitat for Humanity.
“They’re safe, and they’re wind rated up to 150 miles an hour because we never want to have somebody move from an affected area into a home they don’t feel safe in. And they’re also environmentally positive,” says Kirk Taylor, President of Land Betterment Corp.
“Since the tornados, we’ve had to jump around a lot. We were never able to totally unpack and never knew how long we would be able to stay in one place,” Hyde remembers. “So we were really excited when we got the call that our container home was ready. It is right in town, only five minutes from my job and such a cool concept. It is so awesome how everyone worked together to make this container home happen for us. We really appreciate it.”
If you are a community organization or group interested in partnering to bring this housing option to any of the disaster areas in Kentucky, please reach out to Community Ventures at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you connected!