Flower City Habitat for Humanity recently celebrated the completion of two zombie house renovations as part of its vacant and abandoned homes pilot program with the city of Rochester.
The goal of this initiative is to eliminate the zombie home issue, accounting for more than $11 million in property value losses in Monroe County and the city.
The partnership enabled FCHH to acquire seven vacant and abandoned homes. Completed properties to-date are located on Akron Street and Parsells Avenue. The recent dedications marked the third and fourth properties in the program, located on Del Monte Street and Fernwood Avenue. The fifth property, on Barberry Terrace, is under construction.
Tax-paying homeowners will live in these properties by the end of this summer, paying affordable, no-profit, 30-year mortgages. Each homeowner accomplished 300-plus sweat equity hours doing construction, participating in financial education and home-maintenance classes and other community volunteer activities to earn their homes.
FCHH gutted and renovated these properties, including new roofs, windows, siding, doors, driveways, plumbing, electric, heating, flooring and fixtures.
“In addition to sweat equity hours, all Habitat homebuyers participate in financial literacy and home maintenance courses, intending to create sustainable long-term homeowner success,” said Matt Flanigan, CEO of Flower City Habitat for Humanity. “We strongly believe that educating homebuyers before they purchase a home is critical, if not the most important part of our process, and will contribute to the eventual elimination of vacant and abandoned properties.”
FCHH recently bought the sixth property in this pilot program, on Breck Street. Construction will start later this summer. Research for the seventh and final property is underway, with plans to further this initiative beyond the pilot program.
The latest remodels in this pilot program, Del Monte and Fernwood, were made possible by the Rochester Land Bank Corp. with $50,000 per house in funding provided by Enterprise Community Partners and $100,000 from the ESL Charitable Foundation.
“With the completed renovation of these new homes, Flower City Habitat for Humanity has once again proven itself to be a tremendous partner in our efforts to convert zombie properties into high quality homes for our citizens,” Mayor Lovely Warren said. “Bringing affordable home-ownership opportunities to our neighborhoods helps us create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods, and better educational opportunities for our citizens. This partnership benefits all of the residents of Rochester, in addition to the families who will live in these beautiful new homes.”