ReNew Athens is an adaptive reuse program that will create affordable housing options for low income individuals through the environmentally conscious renovation of existing multifamily units.
ReNew Athens, based on the Habitat for Humanity model for single family homes, will utilize volunteer labor and community partnerships to create a homeownership opportunity for families who earn close to minimum wage. This currently underserved income bracket will benefit from the stabilization of homeownership, while taking part in a community project that will revitalize the Athens Area.
Renew Athens homeowners will be required to participate as a stable member of their community and attend financial counseling courses, homebuyer education courses, and homeowner training workshops. In their partnership with ReNew Athens, each homeowner will make a down payment and be required to contribute 500 hours of volunteer service before they move into their home.
From Neglected Rentals to Working Neighborhoods.
ReNew Athens is a new initiative whose mission is the adaptive reuse of existing multi-family rental units into owner-occupied neighborhoods. Athens’ 40-plus year history of the development and construction of student oriented apartment complexes has left a legacy of aged and deteriorating multi-family rental units. As newer and better student-oriented apartments are constructed, students migrate away from the original developments and concentrate in newer units with better amenities. This leaves many older units vacant, which drives down rental rates, property values, and tax revenues. The reuse and rehabilitation of these units and the revival of these areas is a critical goal for Athens.
Athens has a greater than 28% poverty rate, with many of the impoverished living in substandard, dilapidated rental units. A universally recognized strategy for breaking the cycle of poverty is home ownership. Following the Habitat for Humanity model, ReNew Athens will acquire existing multi-family rental units, rehabilitate those units and sell the “ReNewed” units to qualifying low income individuals. The volunteer labor used to rehabilitate the units will make the most efficient use of all state and federal dollars and leverage the public investment to the greatest benefit to the community.
A Proven Model of Success:
The success of a Habitat home is achieved due to the combined effort of staff board members, sponsors, homeowners, and volunteers. Through this foundation of partnership we can actually improve the housing situation in the Athens Area. In addition to groups and individual volunteers, homeowners build as well. It is important that prospective homeowners are eager and willing to work on their own home and other homes. This not only reveals the positive attitude, determination, and work ethic that is vital to successful homeownership, but also shows the homeowners' commitment to becoming a part of the Athens Area community.
Residents of Clarke County who meet the basic requirements and income eligibility guidelines can apply. ReNew Athens serves families who are unable to buy a home through existing affordable housing options, but who are able to make consistent mortgage payments and who are willing to become a working partner with ReNew Athens.
Need for a house:
If your current living situation is substandard and you need a simple decent place to live, ReNew Athens may be able to help you.
Ability to pay:
You must be able to meet your financial obligations and fall within the ranges set by the income guidelines. ReNew Athens is not a giveaway program. It offers an affordable homeownership option to people who demonstrate need, are willing to work in partnership, have a steady income, and can afford a monthly mortgage payment. You must not have filed bankruptcy within the last five years.
For the homeowner, partnership requires 500 hours of “sweat equity” working on a ReNew Athens project. Homeowners do not need construction experience; they must simply perform 500 hours towards the completion of a home, whether it is driving nails, painting, or making sandwiches.