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Project Rebound helps Galesburg neighborhoods to bounce back

GALESBURG, Illinois -

It's hard to believe that the bright home on Grand Avenue was recently a vacant, foreclosed eyesore.

"When we were going through this project, it seemed never ending," said Shauna Pugh.

But Galesburg's Project Rebound is taking on the challenge to flip houses and make them affordable to low income residents.

"These homes can be brought back and made to look pretty awesome," added Alfonso Pugh.

Alfonso and Shauna Pugh flip houses for a living, but this project is a labor of love.

This entirely local program teams them with banks, organizations, the city and private investors.

"To be able to take the worst house in the block and make it nice again and affordable, that's what's important to us," she said.

Project Rebound, literally decades in the making, will help to encourage home ownership while revitalizing neighborhoods.

Applications are available at the Project Rebound Galesburg Facebook page and from Galesburg-area realtors.

The Pughs are making this three-bedroom home inviting for a single mom and her child.

Monthly mortgage payments cost just $400.

That's much less than typical rent topping $600.

"When you're a property owner, the success of a community is your success as well," said Carrie McKillip, a community development educator at the University of Illinois Extension.

Project Rebound plans to flip two houses each year.

The house on Grand Avenue is just the start.

"There are a lot of beautiful old houses in Galesburg that just fall in that bucket," said Alfonso.

After adding lots of special touches, this house is ready for a family.

"Start improving these neighborhoods," Shauna concluded.  "One house at a time, it adds up."

That can help Galesburg bounce back with Project Rebound.