Spotlight Blog

ABOVE  In 2021, Lewiston resident Ahmed Alasow toured a condo with Amy Smith at a Healthy Homeworks open house. Lewiston Sun Journal photo

A Genesis Partner’s Gratitude for Her Lewiston, Maine Community

In groundbreaking work, Genesis community partner Healthy Homeworks creates homeownership opportunities for aspiring first-time homebuyers in downtown Lewiston, Maine, where only 4 percent of residents currently own homes.

Healthy Homeworks retrofits multi-family properties into attainable starter home condos. The organization also builds relationships and provides programs to empower local residents with the skills needed for successful homeownership journeys. It’s a two-tiered approach to create tangible opportunities to become homeowners for households with incomes of $50,000-$80,000.

Healthy Homeworks envisions a vibrant downtown Lewiston, where proud homeowners are committed to stewardship of their neighborhoods and are building generational financial stability. It’s part of a multiyear effort to which Genesis has provided loan capital that is transforming the Tree Streets area, one of the most ethnically diverse communities in Maine.

Recently, Founder & Executive Director Amy Smith shared some of her thoughts about the people of her city, in the aftermath of the mass shooting on October 5, 2023 that killed 18 people and injured 13 others at two sites in Lewiston.

The world has watched our beloved city move through raw emotions of shock, fear, anger, and grief and begin the long, hard road toward healing. Now that the media is gone and we are coming to terms with our new reality, my primary emotion is extreme gratitude for the compassion, kindness, and resilience of this unique community.

In addition to the very public display of determination, competence, and empathy from law enforcement, medical professionals, and public officials, countless local heroes selflessly wrapped Lewiston in love.

The Tree Streets convenience store owner who opened during the lockdown to make sure neighbors could eat . . .

The Catholic Basilica that welcomed speakers from all faiths, including a Jewish Rabbi, an Islamic Imam, and clergy from four different Christian communities . . .

The City and business leaders who made it possible for 4,000 citizens to mourn and find hope collectively, indoors and outdoors, just four days after the shootings . . .

The nonprofit leaders who organized a ‘Love Lewiston’ day to promote unity and healing through hopeful activities across the city . . .

The school and athletic staff who turned the annual ‘Battle of the Bridge’ football game into an inspiring tribute to our first responders . . .

. . . The list goes on and on.

Lewiston is tiny, Maine is small, and the spheres of our lives overlap in countless ways that we can’t fully understand. It’s impossible to know whether a work colleague, a server at a restaurant, or a neighbor in a checkout line just lost a loved one. I am so grateful that this community’s instinct is to treat each other with extra grace and kindness and to create inclusive opportunities to heal together.

Thank you, Amy, for your words and your work. For Lewiston families facing limited housing options, Healthy Homeworks' initiative builds on the community’s strengths and fortifies its foundation for a healthier and prosperous future.