For the past several years, CLDI has targeted our efforts in a part of the South Side we refer to as the 300 Block (shown below). This distinct part of our community is mostly known for the 79 townhomes that were built in the late 1970’s as an affordable housing initiative. Over the years, these properties were privatized, becoming primarily renter-occupied with very little landlord maintenance, and became home to much gang activity, drug use, and crime, creating an unsafe area to raise a family as was once intended. Because of our direct work with at-risk children and families, and with over 125 children living in the 300 Block, CLDI determined to ‘move into’ the neighborhood through the purchase of a townhome at 316 Jefferson Street, a ministry base we refer to as ‘316’. This space provides space to host meals, Bible studies, movie nights, tutoring, a computer lab, coffee bar, and housing – providing a safe place for community youth and families to learn and grow.
Through our work in the 300 Block, we became aware of a vacant property adjoining this area just West of Riverside Junior High School. The property is nearly one acre in size. Overlooked through the years by developers, it is overgrown with weeds and scrub brush, and is full of debris. With heightened drug activity taking place in the area, this unattended lot currently provides cover for illicit activity. Noting this need for healthy development in the 300 Block community, in addition to the growing need for efficiency housing in our city, CLDI is looking to construct three apartment buildings, totaling 9,600 SF, and housing (5) efficiency units, (6) one-bedroom units, and (1) four-bedroom unit in each building. The purchase and development of undeveloped land aligns with our strategic vision to revitalize and improve the greater community; meet a growing demand for quality, affordable housing; and provide work for Koinonia Housing Construction Company, our job training program for men coming out of prison.
Unfortunately, development of raw land is not cheap, nor is the cost of construction these days. In light of the scope of work required, the projected cost of the project is $1.4 million. CLDI is seeking to secure a $750,000 capital investment to execute this project, providing new development in one of Billings’ most underdeveloped and neglects parts of the city, furthering our mission to transform lives and empower the people of South Billings to do good works through the person of Jesus Christ. Will you consider supporting this effort? If so, click here to learn how you can financially partner with CLDI to make this dream a reality.