Denison Students Partner With Housing Task Force
Date of Event: April 25, 2009
Posted: March 23, 2009 / Last Updated: April 14, 2009
A group of Denison University students have committed their labor and $2,500 to help the Licking County Save Our Homes Task Force present an information fair for area homeowners with mortgages. “The Borrowers Outreach Day,” which will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, will enable homeowners to meet with lenders, financial counselors, loan servicing agencies and credit counselors. Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray is the keynote speaker. The event will take place at Creative Catering Banquet and Conference Center located at 925 West Main St. in Hebron, Ohio. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
The collaboration of Denison University students and the Licking County Save Our Homes Task Force came about after Denison alumnus David Kuhns, class of 1968, challenged current students to create a “Venture Philanthropy Club,” according to Laurel Kennedy, director of Denison’s Alford Center for Service-Learning.
“The idea David advanced was that this club could fulfill several elements of our mission simultaneously,” says Kennedy, who is the club’s adviser. “It asks students to learn about issues facing the community, to evaluate how different organizations try to address those issues, and to advocate effectively on behalf of the organization the students find most promising.”
Kennedy says the students aren’t allowed to just give away the money. “They also have to commit their time and energy to help the beneficiary achieve success.”
The students studied local issues and investigated organizations that work to address those issues. Once all the information had been gathered and reported, the club voted on which organization will be the recipient of resources—namely, time and money.
“We sought out projects that addressed the housing and foreclosure crisis,” says Brian Cox, a Denison junior, adding that 25 local organizations were invited to submit proposals for funding, and the club received five proposals.
After three weeks of evaluating the proposals, the club chose the Borrowers Outreach Day project from the Licking County Save Our Homes Task Force.
The Save Our Homes Task Force is a coalition representing local government, social service organizations, banks and attorneys. The group came together in 2008 to develop strategies to minimize foreclosures in Licking County.
“The information fair for education and outreach to residents of Licking County is the Task Force’s signature event. We knew early on that ultimately education at the local level was the best way to help homeowners who are nearing or in foreclosure. We’re all more comfortable dealing with local agencies, familiar faces, and people who have a stake in our community. It makes complicated housing issues more manageable and less scary and mystifying,” says Chris Savage, Licking County Housing Services and Fair Housing Officer.
Nearly 3,500 Licking county homes have undergone foreclosure during the last three years, according to reports published in the Newark Advocate.
“Having the involvement of Denison students, both in terms of providing funding and assisting in organizing the fair is exciting. They have added an extra degree of energy, and it’s important to have their input and objective eyes and ideas to assist the Task Force. It’s this partnership that allows students to learn how to carry out community development initiatives and rally residents to help themselves. These students in the Venture Philanthropy Club are incredibly dedicated, smart, energetic and especially community-minded. The Task Force and Licking County are so fortunate to have them. We’re grateful for their help,” says Savage.
CALENDAR LISTING: Denison University, Granville — Borrower’s Outreach Day, an information fair for homeowners to meet with lenders, financial counselors, loan servicing agencies and credit counselors, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sat., April 25. The event will take place at Creative Catering Banquet and Conference Center located at 925 West Main St. in Hebron, Ohio. Free and open to the public. For information, contact 740-587-7739.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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