Building Value workers "deconstruct" local homes, pulling out recyclable materials as they demolish the buildings. In the process, the workers gain work experience and training for jobs iin the construction industry.
Photographer: Courtesy of Easter Seals TriState
CINCINNATI - The Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corp. is paying a little more to generate a bigger impact from a state-funded program to demolish vacant homes.
The two-year-old landbank, managed by the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, has hired Building Value LLC to "deconstruct" local homes, pulling out recyclable materials as they demolish the buildings. In the process, the landbank is providing work experience and training to unemployed laborers,who are looking for work in the construction industry.
“They’re using cutting tools to pull out flooring and remove windows. They’re working around heavy equipment. They’re showing up, proving they’re willing to get paid minimum wage and do the work. That’s something our partners in the construction industry look for,” said David Rich, director of Building Value.
That’s a nonprofit founded by Easter Seals Tri-State, which operates job training programs for disabled and economically disadvantaged workers. Rich said more than 80 percent of the workers who participate in the Building Value program end up with jobs or apprenticeships or they enroll in school to pursue a construction career.
The Port Authority hired Building Value to deconstruct a Wyoming home at 624 Van Roberts Place. The job started last week and is about half finished. It is expected to divert more than 60 percent of the building's construction waste from local landfills. Building Value is one of five demolition contractors to win work from the program so far. Rich thinks the nonprofit could win as many as 20 of the 140 demolition assignments to be awarded by the landbank in the next few years.
“It’s a little bit more expensive,” said Deborah Robb, director of inclusion and community relations for the Port Authority. “They are working on refining their numbers to be more in line with other demolition contractors. But we expect it to be more expensive because of the work-force component and the fact that they are demolishing it by hand.”
Hamilton County received $5.8 million from the attorney general’s Moving Ohio Forward Demolition Grant program last year. The money came from a settlement between several states and the nation's largest loan servicers to resolve alleged foreclosure abuses.
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