New life for old homes and violence victims

Some local volunteers are picking up hammers and drywall to help victims of domestic abuse.

It's all part of an organization called Domestic Abuse RE-LIEF.

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to learn more about the organization from Founder Toni Hemming.

Toni Hemming founded the non-profit last year to rehabilitate homes like this for victims of domestic abuse and their children.

"It's a personal cause for me," Hemming said. "I was a victim of domestic abuse. Mine was more emotional abuse, but the effects are just the same. I went into a shelter situation and at a support group I realized the needs of all abuse victims are the same. We were starting from scratch. We were starting over and you need just a little bit of a help."

Domestic Abuse RE-LIEF takes homes that are rough around the edges or even on the city of Quincy's Fix or Flatten Program and rehabilitates it. That gives families affected by domestic abuse a new start.

The program works very much like Habitat for Humanity, requiring sweat equity from potential owners while offering low interest loans so women can purchase the property.

"These are folks that have been through the temporary shelter but they may not have place to start over and may not have the finances for a decent rental," Hemming said.

So far the organization has six homes like this under re-construction. The agency constantly needs volunteers and donations of building supplies to keep work moving along.

Volunteers say they aren't just re-building homes, they're reconstructing lives - one family at a time.

The Quincy Mall held a playhouse competition to raise money and awareness for the domestic abuse organization.

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to watch more about the competition from KHQA This Morning.

Area businesses and contractors teamed up to construct the playhouses. They are set to be auctioned off Saturday, September 21 at 10 a.m. at the Quincy Mall Fountain Court.

All proceeds go to Domestic Violence RE-LIEF.

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to see some of the playhouses to be auctioned.

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go to the organization's Facebook page.

If you would like to volunteer or donate building materials, e-mail the organization at or call (217) 653-4989.