EVANSVILLE, Ind. (October 19, 2021) – Today, representatives from Habitat for Humanity of Evansville, Deaconess, Indiana University School of Medicine – Evansville, University of Southern Indiana, and University of Evansville came together to announce a new collaborative partnership titled Building Homes and Health.

The project is being funded by Deaconess, which is giving $250,000 to Habitat Evansville over the next five years.  The funding will allow three local families to participate in Habitat’s homeownership program and build a secure, affordable home.  Students from the three universities – all future healthcare professionals – will help with the construction of the homes, receiving a unique service learning experience that allows them to connect with members of the community.  On average, volunteer labor saves Habitat approximately $15,000 per house.

“The significance of Building Homes and Health to the Habitat organization cannot be overestimated,” said Beth Folz, Executive Director or Habitat for Humanity of Evansville. “What we are doing here is multi-faceted… It’s our goal to impact families not just today, but for generations. It’s building up neighborhoods like Jacobsville, and it’s providing a unique experience for healthcare students, who may one day live and serve here in Evansville, to connect with our community.”

Deaconess is proud to sponsor Building Homes and Health, realizing that not only will three families have proven improved quality of life and health outcomes because of homeownership, but that the entire Jacobsville Neighborhood – now benefitting from extensive investment such as the Complete Streets Project, Forge on Main Workforce Housing Apartments, and the Deaconess Aquatic Center – will also be greatly improved because of new residential structures and increased homeownership rates.

“Students going into healthcare have chosen to do so because they care about people—not just about their health, but their overall well-being,” said Shawn McCoy, CEO, Deaconess. “Health outcomes are directly impacted by social determinants, so involving future healthcare workers in projects like this will help them better understand the often-complex challenges faced by patients they will treat in the future.”

The first home being sponsored by the Building Homes and Health initiative will be located in the 100 block of E. Louisana in the Jacobsville Neighborhood and will belong to Future Homeowner, Stephenie S.

Stephenie is a hardworking, single mom of two and a Registered Behavior Technician.  Stephenie, her daughters, and her two brothers will move out of the 2-bedroom duplex where they currently live to move into the new home on E. Louisiana.  “I’m just excited to have a home that’s my own and be independent,” Stephenie says. “I’m also excited to get some better sleep once I’m not in the same bedroom as my 3 year old anymore.”

Stephenie’s foundation has been poured and construction begins in earnest with her family, university volunteers and Habitat staff and volunteers later this week.

How does housing impact health? Click to learn more.