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Elderly Woman Builds New Home After Fire

Financial and Social Impact

  • Violet’s home was the first Energy Star home built in Harlan County, KY
  • With the support of COAP, Violet can afford housing and other expenses on her income
  • Fahe’s network of 50+ nonprofits has guided more than 375,000 families to better lives, made more than $609MM in direct investments to the region, and achieved a total cumulative financial impact of over $1.26B

When 65-year-old Violet Lewis woke up one night to find her house engulfed in flames, she knew she had no time to lose. She grabbed her pet birds and made it out safely with most of them, but lost everything else in the blaze, including the home she had owned in Loyall, Kentucky, for more than 20 years.

“I had the clothes on my back and six of my seven birds — one of them was burned in the fire,” said Violet.

Because she lived on a fixed income—and because the house was uninsured—she was in no position to buy a new residence. Her sole alternative was to move into an old mobile home, with two pieces of furniture, a chair and a coffee table. She was unable even to buy a new bed, so she slept on an air mattress, and was in such dire straits that she had only four dollars a month to live on after paying rent and utilities.

That’s where Fahe, a coalition of nonprofits across several states that work to provide affordable quality housing in Appalachia, came in. With the CDFI’s support, its member Christian Outreach With Appalachian People helped Violet to build a new home.

“Now I have a perfect house. I am home.” – Violet Lewis

(Date of loan: 2013. Date of story publication: 2013)