Grant to help Riley students develop affordable housing in South Bend

Author: Erin Blasko

The community development corporation 466 Works, in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civic Innovation (CCI), Southeast Organized Area Residents, Neighborhood Development Associates and the South Bend Community School Corp. has been recommended for a $125,000 grant to engage students from Riley High School’s Construction Trades Program in a home build in South Bend’s Southeast Neighborhood.

The money, courtesy of a federally funded Community Development Block Grant from the city of South Bend, will allow the students to build a home for a low- to moderate-income family in a part of the city where access to quality, affordable housing and financing is limited because of market conditions, in addition to the homes the Construction Trades Program builds in more affluent, suburban areas outside of the city.

The Southeast Neighborhood is located southeast of downtown and includes Riley.

Interns with the Bowman Creek Educational Ecosystem (BCE2), from Notre Dame as well as Bethel College and Penn High School, collaborated on the grant with Southeast Organized Area Residents and Neighborhood Development Associates. BCE2 is a program of CCI that brings people from different backgrounds and sectors together to solve challenging problems in the community.

Moving forward, CCI and BCE2 will continue to work through the details of the project, meeting monthly with 466 Works and the school corporation for plan development and with the civil engineering and architecture class at Riley for the design of the home. Notre Dame also partners with Riley on BRIDGES, a before-school enrichment program for girls enrolled in the school’s magnet engineering program.

The city of South Bend administers the Community Development Block Grant program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Generally, the program provides resources for cities and counties for a wide range of community development needs, from affordable housing to slum and blight elimination.

This particular grant will help subsidize the cost of the home here, accounting for the difference between the material value of the home, based on development and construction costs, and the market value so that the school corporation comes out whole and the buyer stays right-side-up on the mortgage.

466 Works currently owns 20 vacant lots in the Southeast Neighborhood, many cleared by the city. It will transfer one of those lots to the school corporation for $1 to facilitate the project. The others will remain available for future development, either in conjunction with the school corporation or other community partners.

The project will provide benefits for the community, the homeowner and the students:

• For the community, it will address the need for quality, affordable housing in the city, improve the look and feel of the Southeast Neighborhood and motivate existing homeowners to improve their own properties to keep pace with the improvements.

• For the homeowner, it will provide financial stability, a sense of pride in home ownership and long-term assets in the form of home equity.

• For the students, it will provide valuable skills and experience in the building trades, as well as exposure to the community-building process.

466 Works expects to transfer the lot to the school corporation in April. Construction will follow in June, and the home will be ready for occupancy the following spring. The home will qualify for a Silver Rating from the National Green Building Standard, lowering the monthly utility bills.

466 Works is a nonprofit community development corporation that works to enhance and revitalize the Southeast Neighborhood, characterized by old housing stock, inadequate housing options and a high concentration of vacant homes, through improved infrastructure, safety and quality of residential housing.

CCI, housed in the College of Engineering, works with other research centers and individuals across Notre Dame to identify opportunities for collaboration that address pressing issues in the South Bend-Elkhart region.

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Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,

Originally published by Erin Blasko at on December 18, 2018.