AHIP Finishing up First Year of "Block by Block" Initiative

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A nonprofit's mission to make over two dozen aging homes in one Charlottesville neighborhood is moving closer to completion, one block at a time.

Volunteers with the Albemarle Housing Improvement Program are currently working on two rehab projects to keep seniors safe.

The nonprofit is finishing up its first year of the Block-by-Block initiative to improve a dozen homes in the 10th and Page neighborhood.

This week, crews are hard at work on a nearly century-old house. Tom Bliska's team of University of Virginia architecture students is building a deck it designed to replace one that was crumbling.

“It was about six feet deep and full of stuff. Now, it's more livable,” said Bliska.

The “eco-reMOD” team drew up the blueprints to make over Carrie Washington's Charlottesville home. The safer deck is just part of the improvements, but the home rehab started in Washington’s bathroom.

“The floor kept going away, sagging, and nails kept coming up through it. Finally, we said this has got to go. I said, we're going to be on the ground after a while,” said Washington.

AHIP completed that emergency repair and uncovered a long list of safety issues around the home.

“She's done her best to keep up with it, but as is the case for a lot of seniors on fixed incomes, they really have trouble keeping up with little things that go wrong let alone big systems that need to be fixed,” said Jennifer Jacobs, AHIP executive director.

The $37,000 rehab of Washington’s house is just one of AHIP’s projects in the nonprofit's Block-by-Block initiative.

“One of our goals is to make sure they continue to stay in the families so they have access to safe, stable, affordable houses that belong to them,” said Jacobs.

Washington's "like-new" home is quickly coming together thanks to the generosity of her neighbors.

“I'm just proud of it. Thank the good Lord. We're well-blessed,” said Washington.

The cost to cover Washington’s repairs all came from donations. The Block by Block initiative plans to rehab 12 more homes in the neighborhood in the upcoming fiscal year.

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