Growing High Point takes on new mission of fixing homes

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Growing High Point is an organization known for turning empty neighborhood lots into productive gardens, providing families with healthy foods.

Patrick Harman is the executive director. He explains the group is taking on a new problem, blight.

"It's an infection, it keeps on spreading," said Harman. "So, you got a vacant house here, and other one. Who wants to live next to a falling-down property.”

The home at the corner of Pershing Street and Ragan Avenue was in bad condition. The roof leaked and the siding had lots of holes.

Growing High Point is participating in the City of High Point's Small Builders Initiative. With up to $15,000, a small builder or non-profit can renovate homes in selected neighborhoods.

So far, a team of workers have installed new cabinets in the kitchen, enlarged the bathroom and replaced the windows.

Ed Kimsey is the General Contractor. He explains why he is so proud of the men and women that are working on the house.

"We are using this property as an incubator to build and increase skills, so folks can go out and do this type work for themselves or someone else in the future," Kimsey said.

Drywall, siding, windows, Roy Autry has done it all. Getting to this point though hasn't been easy.

Autry has a criminal background and is participating in the High Point Community Against Violence job training program.

"We got his class, his students come, and I am helping them out because it's great to be a help and be a part of the solution than being a part of the problem," said Autry.

When the renovation work is done in about a month, Pershing Street will have a home that's ready for a family. And the community will have a person that wants to continue to be a positive influence.

"So, going forward from here, I want to start my own business or go with a company full time," Autry said.

Growing High Point hasn't received any official offers yet, but the home is getting a lot of interest.

When the house is sold, Growing High Point will use the money to rehab another home in High Point.