DON Services  Disability Options Network

DON Enterprises, Inc., has received $375,774 in grant funds from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh under FHLBank’s Affordable Housing Program.

The funds will be used by the 501c3 nonprofit organization to build five visitable/accessible affordable homes on New Castle’s Lower East Side.

These homes are integral to Building New Castles — the Court Street Project, a Lawrence County Blueprint Communities initiative spearheaded by DON. Building New Castles is a community revitalization effort that engages community leaders to help stabilize the city’s Lower East Side and to create a diverse inclusive community. This project is focusing revitalization efforts on Court Street between Walnut and Ray streets. Affordable homeownership to individuals with disabilities, single parents, young families, seniors, and others is one goal of this project. In addition to the new homes, the project is rehabilitating vacant homes, cleaning up vacant lots, assisting with code-related rehabilitation of owner-occupied homes, improving infrastructures, and making the project area more accessible.

The five new homes to be built in 2019 will benefit individuals with disabilities, individuals with a history of domestic violence, seniors and individuals without a home. All home buyers must be income-eligible with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income. The homes will be built on property that was provided by the Lawrence County Land Bank and will complement the other revitalization efforts in the neighborhood.

In the City of New Castle, many homes are large, older two-story homes that lack modern amenities, such as eat-in kitchens and additional bathrooms. The new homes to be built will have two and three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached garage. The homes will all be visitable/accessible single-floor homes built on a concrete slab. In addition, these homes will be energy efficient and low maintenance.

Currently on the Lower East Side, the cost to build a new home would be significantly greater then what a new home would sell for. Therefore, the funds received from FHLBank will cover the funding gap, which is the difference between the sales price and cost to build the homes. Homes will be sold for approximately $42,000 to $47,000 depending on the number of bedrooms.

“This project is an investment in the community that will increase homeownership and area home values, while providing needed development that is consistent with the neighborhood and community plans,” says Chris Lloyd, chief executive officer of DON.

This grant would not have been possible without the dedication, partnership, and support of the Lawrence County Blueprint Communities, Eckles Architecture, the Lawrence County Land Bank, First Commonwealth Bank, T.W. McCosby Construction, DON Management Construction, the Lawrence County Department of Planning and Development, Lawrence County Commissioners, the City of New Castle, United Way, Lowes and others.

“This project is a huge win for Lawrence County because FHLBank is a resource that has not been utilized in Lawrence County in more than 15 years,” said Anita McKeever, administrator of community resources for DON.

For more information, call DON’s housing department at (724) 652-5144.

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