Decatur, Illinois, July 18th, 2023 – During a press conference hosted jointly today by Land of Lincoln Credit Union (LLCU) and the City of Decatur, it was announced that LLCU has donated a house and property, [located at 2074 N. Union Street in Decatur], to the City of Decatur. The house and property will ultimately be donated to Empowerment Opportunity Center of Decatur, to be used as a single-family dwelling for displaced families seeking transitional housing through the Empowerment Opportunity Center. Donating the home initially to the City of Decatur, allows access to funds required for renovation materials and supplies.
In order to prepare the home for use as a single-family dwelling for a displaced family, multiple community partnerships have been forged. Renovation work required will be executed by Richland Community College students enrolled in the Workforce Development Construction Training Program. Using RCC students provides donated labor for the renovation project, while providing the students with real-world, hands-on construction opportunities. Additionally, Decatur Trades & Labor Assembly will provide project oversight of the renovation work being done by the RCC Workforce Development students. Once renovation is complete, Empowerment Center of Decatur will take ownership and proceed to use it as a part of their Transitional Housing program for displaced families.
“During a recent tour of Empowerment Opportunity Center of Decatur, we learned about their Transitional Housing Program,” stated Robert Ares, LLCU President & CEO. “We also learned of the costs involved, including that they were currently leasing one of the houses used for displaced families. I immediately thought of a house that we [LLCU] recently gained through foreclosure and felt strongly that we should be donating the house for this important need. Upon presenting the idea to our LLCU Board of Directors, they eagerly approved the project. It just made sense, but we knew that Empowerment did not have resources to renovate the home, so we started conversations with the City of Decatur and RCC and the ball just started rolling. It has truly been a blessing to see everyone come together for such a special project.”
The home is centrally located in Decatur with close access to bus routes and close access to various social services provided by Empowerment Opportunity Center of Decatur, Crossing Healthcare and Memorial Hospital.
“We were overjoyed at the prospect of LLCU donating a house to our Transitional Housing Program,” stated Tara Murray, Empowerment Opportunity Center Executive Director. “But we did initially express concern about not having resources to renovate. Things quickly kicked into high gear and several community organizations came onboard to help. The City of Decatur, RCC, Decatur Trades & Labor, and, of course, LLCU – have all been so dedicated to making this happen. All this hard work will prove very rewarding when we are able to place a family in the home.”
Construction will begin on the home in mid-July and is expected to be completed by year-end. After completion, Empowerment Opportunity Center will be ready to place a displaced family in the home. Empowerment Opportunity Center assists approximately 55 displaced individuals per year with transitional housing. To learn more about services provided, visit www.empowerdecatur.org.
Names of those photographed above [from left to right]: Chris Smith (LLCU), Julie Horath (LLCU), Brandi Binkley (LLCU), Howard Martin (LLCU), Jeri Conaway (LLCU), Dr. Cris Valdez (RCC), Robert Ares (LLCU), April Ingram (RCC), John Oliver (RCC), Dr. Isaac Zuniga (RCC), Jon Kindseth (City of Decatur), Cordaryl Patrick (City of Decatur), Michael Diggs (EOC), Tara Murray (EOC), Richelle Dunbar (City of Decatur), Terrence “TAT” Taylor (RCC).