NeighborWorks Columbus kicks off Columbus Cottage Campaign

Jociel Smith could be getting a new house for Christmas.

Smith is the first new home recipient in NeighborWorks Columbus and the Columbus Consolidated Government's Columbus Cottage Campaign.

The campaign will raise money to provide senior citizens who can no longer afford their homes with a safe and comfortable place to live.

The city government has pledged $150,000; NeighborWorks plans to match that amount through donations to total $300,000 and build six to ten cottages, said Cathy Williams, president and chief executive officer.

Smith's old home 27th Street will be demolished today; her new "cottage" should be finished in a few months.

"We'd like to have her in here by the holidays," Williams said before a press conference in front of Smith's house to announce the campaign.

Each of the one-bedroom, one-bath cottages will be handicapped-accessible and cost about $40,000-$50,000 each to build.

The campaign had raised over $45,000 as of Monday.Smith, 90, expressed her gratitude for the campaign and her new house. The house she had lived in for 35 years was falling down around her.

"I almost gave up hope, but I didn't because God said you don't know what I have for you," she said. "If someone helps me, I'm going to live to help someone else."

To donate to the Columbus Cottage Campaign, visit www.nwcolumbuscampaign.org. Donations can also be dropped off at the NeighborWorks Columbus offices on 11th Street.