Volunteers from Lowe’s and the Humility Homes & Services community donated their time and effort Wednesday to help renovate a basement unit at a Davenport rental home that will become an affordable two-bedroom apartment.

The project – started in July and to finish Nov. 15 – is at a two-story Humility-owned home at 1731 Marquette St., Davenport, which is already home to four one-bedroom apartments (two each on the first and second floor). The new project, to include laundry facilities for the whole building, is one of 100 community projects nationwide in 2023 that make up Lowe’s Hometowns.

Launched in 2022, Lowe’s Hometowns is the company’s largest-ever impact program, with a five-year, $100-million commitment from Lowe’s to rebuild and revitalize community spaces nationwide.

Humility Homes & Services executive director Ashley Velez and Lowe’s assistant store manager Braden Greer in the basement apartment Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“These projects are so important because we are part of the community,” Braden Greer, Lowe’s assistant store manager for the Moline store, said Wednesday. “This specific project is going to give a family in the community a place to call home.”

He had 14 Moline store employees volunteer Wednesday for the renovation work, including a lot of painting.

Lowe’s Moline employees help paint for the new Marquette Street apartment on Nov. 8, 2023 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

The Hometowns program has a goal of giving away $100 million in grants and 1 million labor hours from Lowe’s volunteers, Greer said.

“Giving back to our community has been at the core of Lowe’s mission since our founding over 100 years ago,” he said. “Lowe’s Hometown affordable housing is how we bring that commitment to life.

“At Lowe’s, we have an unwavering commitment to making homes – and hometowns – better for all,” the company Hometowns website says. “Over the last 100 years, Lowe’s has grown from a small-town hardware store in North Carolina to one of the largest home improvement retailers in the world. The company’s heritage puts the communities we serve at the heart of everything we do.”

Lowe`s Hometowns invites nonprofits and community members to share stories of projects in need. Humility Homes & Services, Inc. is partnering with local Lowe’s associates, construction pros, and impact partner Points of Light to complete this project.

This year’s Lowe’s Hometowns projects were chosen from 93 communities across 41 states and Washington, D.C., and will address needs specific to each community, from housing and community centers to outdoor spaces and facilities for first responders and veterans.

Each project will receive a grant from Lowe’s to make physical improvements that help local organizations continue to make meaningful impact in their communities.

Humility Homes was one of just three Iowa projects funded in the program this year, and the only one in the Quad Cities, said executive director Ashley Velez. It helps meet a critical need for affordable housing in the QC, she said.

Over 100 affordable units

The new 1,000-square-foot apartment (with one bathroom) will be added to 107 such affordable rental units run or owned by Humility Homes.

A newly installed bathroom in the basement apartment (photo by Jonathan Turner).

They are in the nonprofit’s Mission Focused Housing program, which helps people who are not eligible for federal and state housing assistance programs, as well as Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8 holders.

Humility’s monthly rents range from $340 for a one-bedroom apartment to $797 for a three-bedroom. Humility purchased the vacant home on Marquette Street in 2020 from St. Ambrose University, and renovated four one-bedroom units (occupied starting in 2021), leaving the heavily deteriorated basement (a former art studio) for later rehabilitation.

A new kitchen in progress, Nov. 8, 2023 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“We walked through and thought it would be great if we put in a laundry facility one day, a new apartment one day,” Velez said. They applied for the grant and Lowe’s is “paying for everything,” she said.

They started renovation work in July, with the help of JMC Remodeling, from which Humility also rents housing units. The new two-bedroom unit is expected to be available (including new tile flooring and carpeting) Nov. 15, for $688 a month.

The average two-bedroom apartment in the Quad Cities rents for $908 a month, Velez said.

Humility has a long waiting list for affordable units and it will be “first come, first served” for those seeking the new Marquette Street apartment, she said.

Wednesday was a culmination of much of the work, and recognition of the support of businesses like JMC and Lowe’s, Velez said. “We can’t do this without them,” she said.

The same room as above (after a paint job) to become the building laundry room (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Humility does volunteer work like this year-round, to partly qualify for its federal Department of Housing and Urban Development grants.

“The federal government lets us put a rate on how much the volunteer hours are worth,” Velez said, noting it’s $30 an hour per person for a nonprofit. “That’s how we’re able to obtain our large federal grants coming in.

Lowe’s Moline workers volunteer in painting the unit Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

“Having the volunteer hours – not only is it amazing having Lowe’s partner with us and is able to bring this beautiful unit online for a family, but just their volunteer support adds even more to that,” she said. “It means a lot to us because it allows us to keep our federal grants.”

Volunteers working on renovations at their Marquette property include painting, landscaping, and other needs as time allows. Increasing affordable housing options aligns with Humility’s mission to eradicate homelessness in the QC region.

To learn more about Humility Homes & Services, visit its website HERE.