DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — The city has approved $250,000 to the Decatur Area Habitat for Humanity (DAH4H) to rehab vacant buildings into high-quality housing.

“With Neighborhood Revitalization as one of our top priorities, this is a perfect partnership for the City of Decatur,” Decatur Mayor Julie Moore Wolfe said. “There are many homes in our neighborhoods that could be eligible for rehabilitation, so we are excited to see where this program takes us.”

This program will be a community effort. DAH4H plans to involve trade school students, local contractors, Workforce Investment Solutions and Trades & Labor Council to complete the work. DAH4H officials said the houses will be classrooms for students and pre-apprenticeship program participants to obtain hands-on experience and a new marketable skill.

While DAH4H traditionally builds homes from the ground, Executive Director Ed Smith said he is looking forward to adding rehabilitation to the programming.

“This is such a great opportunity for us because we have been wanting to get into rehabilitation work in addition to our new builds,” Smith said. “Habitat can continue to get out in our community and provide more quality homes to families that really need it.”

The program is already underway. Trade students have begun to clean out two houses on Division and Huron Streets.

DAH4H officials said that after the work is completed, they will look for first-time home buyers for these rehabilitated houses, as they have been doing for 35 years.