The Neighborhood Stabilization Project: Rehabilitating homes in Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids
By Olivia De Valk
STEVENS POINT – People with low to moderate incomes may be able to purchase rehabilitated homes through a unique project run by CAP Services in Stevens Point, called the Neighborhood Stabilization Project (NSP).
The NSP is funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and began in response to the housing market crash of 2008.
James Barrett, Assistant Director of Housing at CAP Services, said that unlike traditional house-flipping, CAP Services doesn’t make a penny off the houses they renovate.
“What we’re looking for is that really ugly house in the neighborhood to bring it back to life and then to get a family in there,” Barrett said.
Approximately two houses in the Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids area are renovated through this program per year.
One NSP renovated house is located on West Clark Street. Barrett said the rundown home was one of the first houses people would see driving in to Stevens Point.
“A lot of people would have said let’s just bulldoze it,” Bernice Kawlewski, housing coordinator at CAP Services, said.
Kawlewski and Barrett have noticed that renovation projects like the NSP program have a ripple effect. In the year after renovating the Clark Street house, Barrett said one neighbor updated the siding on their house, and in the following years two other neighbors also updated their homes.
In addition to redeveloping foreclosed homes, CAP Services also offers loans to help redevelop houses that are already being lived in and bring them back to HUD standards.
Currently CAP Services has $2.2 million in loans circulating in the Stevens Point community.
These loans, which allow people to stay in their homes for longer, help to strengthen communities, Barrett said, because, “there’s that solid anchor of a neighbor who’s been there for a long time . . . a person the neighborhood can rally around.”
Beyond the funding for home maintenance, Barrett also educates homeowners in basic home maintenance to give them the knowledge to keep their homes in good condition for years to come.
These renovations, and the knowledge Barrett provides along with them, benefit clients emotionally as well as physically.
“It gives the homeowner pride,” Kawlewski said. “They have a smile on their face, they have a new reason to live.”
For more information on the housing programs run by CAP services, go to https://capservices.org/what-we-do/housing-transportation.