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Our City Reading homes change lives; neighborhoods

By Dwayne Parker, Reporter, DParker@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 12 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 13 2012 04:52:34 AM CDT

Al Boscov and the non-profit organization, Our City Reading, are on a mission to give the city of Reading a new look by selling homes at low prices.

READING, Pa. -

Al Boscov and the non-profit organization, Our City Reading, are on a mission to give the city of Reading a new look by selling homes at low prices.

And no one is happier about this than Lizette Castro. She says her kids have not always been proud about living in the 600 block of Tulpehocken Street in Reading.

"They don't like to bring the kids around because of the way the neighborhood looked," said Castro.

But that is changing, all thanks to homes being remodeled by the non-profit, Our City Reading.

The homes have all new energy-efficient appliances, new kitchens and bathrooms, and wall-to-wall carpet.

Mortgage payments for some of the properties are as low as $255 a month, including property taxes and homeowners insurance, organizers said.

"Reading can be a beautiful city. It has wonderful housing, structurally strong, good size," said Al Boscov.

Organizers said that, on Tulpehocken Street, they have already remodeled about six homes, but they want to bring that number up to 10 in order to revitalize the neighborhood.

"Ten homeowners change a whole block. We have to try to make sure there are flowers growing in the boxes that we're putting out. We'll have a contest for who has the best flowers at the end of the season," said Boscov.

To participate, you need to be a first-time home buyer, but exceptions can be made.

You must currently have been at your present job for at least a year.

And if your credit is less than stellar, officials said there's still hope.

"If at the time the customer is not ready, we make them ready for the future, whether it's in three months six months, even 12 months, but we start something to make sure that, at one point, they become homeowners," said Elsie Maduro, Sovereign Bank.

As for Lizette Castro, new homes on her block mean a new life for her family.

"I'm excited. Now my kids don't have to be embarrassed to bring their kids around," said Castro.

Locations of Homes For Sale
623 Tulpehocken Street
661 Tulpehocken Street
663 Tulpehocken Street
775 Miltimore Street
781 Miltimore Street
133 Elm Street
135 Elm Street
522 S. 9th Street
134 Wunder Street
148 W. Green Street
326 W. Green Street
358 McKnight Street
739 Ritter Street
For more information, call (610) 370-3990, or log on to Our City Reading's website.