Two-dollar house a priceless investment for Inner City Youth Alive

Written by Aaron Epp, previously published in ChristianWeek

A non-profit ministry based in Winnipeg’s North End has purchased a house from the City of Winnipeg for two dollars with the intent to renovate it and sell it to a low-income family in the community.

Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA) took possession of the house in mid-February, and ICYA staffers hope to have it ready for sale by the fall.

The reasons for doing the project are three-fold, says ICYA executive director Kent Dueck.

The ministry wants to provide work for young people in the community and help them develop skills as they help renovate the house; ICYA wants to provide a positive voice in the community with the refurbished house’s presence; and it wants to offer the completed house to a low-income family for a low price.

Dueck says ICYA’s mission is to share the hope of the future of Christ within the community, and renovating the house is part of that mission.

“A boarded up house almost has a voice,” Dueck says of the property, located at the northeast corner of Powers Street and Redwood Avenue.

“It doesn’t speak about hope – it’s just another background for graffiti. What’s important for us is what we’re saying to the community, and that house had a really negative voice to the community.”

ICYA’s work on the house will change that.

“Next Christmas, there’ll be Christmas lights up there – not boards on the windows,” says Dueck.

Dueck says ICYA may end up relying on volunteer contributions more than expected. Since planning the project first began, numerous people have come forward, saying they will donate work and materials.

“It’s interesting to see the excitement that’s building in the community to support this project,” Dueck says. “For me, it’s been an exciting project, and one that I think will keep surprising me.”

Dueck anticipates that ICYA will buy and renovate more houses once the first house is complete.