Low-income housing opens in N. Phila.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter joined city dignitaries and representatives from the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises (HACE) to cut the ribbon on Lawrence Court Wednesday.

The development of fifty new townhomes is located in the St. Hugh neighborhood of North Philadelphia.

"We see ourselves as agents of communities to create change," said Bill Salas, Jr., President and Co-founder of HACE.

And a change was indeed created. The project has transformed a vacant parcel of land into a colorful variety of townhomes that reflect the Latino heritage of the neighborhood.

City officials say the process was carefully designed to include current residents.

"We gave people cool roof designs. So they had the opportunity to paint their houses similar to the project," said Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez. "So they were part of this from the very beginning."

The homes feature wrought iron balconies and daylight sensors on outdoor lighting.to assure energy efficiency. Ten homes have already been sold.

Home buyers Ramon and Marleny Diaz were skeptical at first.

"Everybody had built up fear in me, telling me that buying a home is a scary thing," Ramon told Action News. "But so far what I have found is that it is probably the easiest thing I've ever done on a major purchase."

"We help home buyers with settlement and closing costs," explained one HACE worker. "And the house is move-in ready so they don't have to get appliances or things of that nature."

The homes all have three bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths and off-street parking.

Luis and Gloria Caraballo were attracted by the ten-year tax abatement. Gloria told Action News she is not sure exactly when they will be moving in, but expects it will be sometime in May.

The city explains that at least 45 Lawrence Court homes will be sold to households with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI). The remaining five homes are available to households up to 115% of the AMI. A family of four at 80% of AMI earns $62,650 per year. At 115% of AMI, a family of four would earn $90,045.

For more information, contact the Philadelphia Office for Housing and Community Development at 215-686-9721.

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philadelphia, pennsylvania, home sales, economy, north philadelphia, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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