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Garland's GREAT Homes Project Earns National Award

The partnership between the City of Garland’s GREAT Homes Program and Green Extreme Homes has earned the Audrey Nelson Community Development Award from the National Community Development Association. The award will be presented in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 23, 2015, and recognizes the exemplary use of public funds and public-private partnerships to bring awareness to housing issues and address other area housing and neighborhood needs.

The project began as a collaboration between the City of Garland and Green Extreme Homes to build two new, energy-efficient homes in the R.E. Sumners addition on McKinley Street. This small neighborhood was considered a prime location to use as a test case to illustrate how such a project could revitalize a neighborhood.

It was quickly decided that the event should be a veteran’s initiative to assist those who have served. The United Way was asked to play a major role in the Veteran’s Day event as part of its 9 for 90 campaign, as both a fundraiser and to increase awareness of the need for affordable, energy-efficient housing for veterans. The Veteran’s Day event featured a key hand-off ceremony and a special appearance by Dallas Cowboys legend Roger Staubach, also a Navy veteran.

Several other entities brought resources to the project. The Home Depot provided tools and materials. CitiBank, United Way and The Home Depot provided more than 200 volunteers to build fences, paint neighborhood houses, and add landscaping for the event. Two energy-efficient, brand new homes were built for veterans and their families, one home was rehabilitated for a veteran’s family, three neighborhood homes were painted by volunteers with paint donated by Sherwin Williams, three new fences were built by volunteers with materials donated by The Home Depot, and five homes received new landscaping.

The City of Garland’s Housing & Community Services Department developed the GREAT Homes program as an innovative approach to re-energize Garland’s existing housing stock through energy-efficient and aesthetic upgrades, while maintaining the architectural integrity of Garland’s mature neighborhoods. The program offers creative financing terms that benefit the buyers of the homes and provide a dollar-per-dollar return on investment back to the City, perpetuating the program. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has deemed Garland’s housing initiatives as a “best practices model” for other cities to duplicate.