Communities are coming up with a variety of ways to deal with the vacant and dilapidated homes in their areas. Fixing up these homes improves the living conditions for families who come to live in them, provides a source of community service, and improves the value of the surrounding neighborhood. These fixer-upper projects are often undertaken by nonprofit agencies wanting to lift the quality of life for some of the city’s residents.
Alliance for Building Communities renovates vacant homes
One such community is Allentown, PA, where Alliance for Building Communities “is kicking off an effort to renovate and rehabilitate vacant homes and increase the city’s offerings of affordable housing.” They are currently doing a $90,000 renovation which will convert an older home into a two-story, three-bedroom home. In addition to single-family homes, they have also done apartment buildings, providing clean, safe housing to a number of low-income families.
Another project Alliance for Building Communities has undertaken is to renovate and then rent out about 20 different homes in downtown Allentown. These homes have been made available for rental to low and moderate-income families. Gerald Alfano, president of the Alliance, said, “There are a lot of great things happening in Allentown now and providing quality, safe, and affordable housing to residents in the city is a piece of the puzzle. We are proud to be able to contribute to the renaissance now underway downtown.”
Habitat for Humanity to improve 150 homes
Another nonprofit agency that focuses on improving living conditions is Habitat for Humanity. In Lehigh Valley, PA, they began a program earlier in October which will lead to the eventual improvement of at least 150 downtown homes within five years. The organization has called it A Brush of Kindness because it “focuses on exterior repairs and maintenance issues that they hope will not only address safety and security problems for the residents but create a positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood.”
One recipient of the Habitat’s service will be Clarita Angustia who has not been able to keep up with the repairs necessary to maintain her home due to unemployment and continuous water damage stemming from leaking. The Habitat will be repairing the roof and installing new gutters to improve water filtration.
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