South Cumminsville organization looks to overcome poverty through sustainability

A Home Energy Audit Performed By Working In Neighborhoods

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - "I would like to see the community better. I know if the community is doing better, I'll be doing better," said Marilyn Evans, the President of the South Cumminsville Community Council.

South Cumminsville is a close-knit community, but it's also one that is looking to eliminate poverty within a generation.

"About 3 years ago, we were asked by the community in South Cumminsville to help move the community out of poverty and to create a healthier place so that people would live longer and have opportunities for their grandchildren," said Sister Barbara Busch, the Executive Director for Working in Neighborhoods.

While there are many gears that have to turn at same time to achieve their goal, one of those gears involves sustainable energy.

"We're looking at solar, we're looking at geothermal, we're looking at building design, " said Hope Wilson, the operations director and housing program manager for Working in Neighborhoods.

Working In Neighborhood is providing energy audits for the community to help cut homeowners costs. There's also an effort to build new homes with solar panels and other energy efficiencies.

"It's a net zero energy urban village. 25 units will be senior citizens who own their own homes in the community. We can help put that together and save money and help them to be our ambassadors so that alternative energy is something that people can talk about and know what it is because it is our future," said Busch.

A focus on sustainability is making South Cumminsville smarter and better prepared for the future.

"A big piece of this is providing the education to help them understand how their behaviors impact their usage and count down on the amount of energy that they are using so that they can truly be at that net zero stage," said Wilson.

It's also a movement that is inspiring residents, creating a model for other communities, and harnessing a gift from God.

Evans explained, "If I could be part of something that is that motivating, then I feel like we could achieve a lot here in the community."

"It can be a model that's used other places, not just here in South Cumminsville," said Wilson.

Busch said, "As I say, we don't have to buy God's sun and God's wind. We actually have it on our own roofs and be part of the solution to what is happening in our climate."

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