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No work done on housing project years after awarding of grant

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 17 2014 04:08:49 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 17 2014 05:09:29 PM CDT

The promise in 2012 was more than $1 million of public and private funds to turn seven blighted homes in Allentown's historic district into affordable housing within two years.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

The promise in 2012 was more than $1 million of public and private funds to turn seven blighted homes in Allentown's historic district into affordable housing within two years.

Neighbor David Ramos said he hasn't seen any work being done on the project.

"As a matter of fact, I've seen bums break into that house," Ramos said of 536 Allen St., which looked the same Thursday as it did in April 2012.

Around the corner on North 6th Street, large signs advertising the rehab work are posted over two of the properties. Despite the signs, no work has been done at the site. 

"I would think the old grandeur would be back and the town homes would be like they were," said Jennifer Montalvan, when asked what she expected of the historic renovation.

David Evans, executive director of Housing Association and Development Corporation, the nonprofit set to rehab the homes, said the promised money came with a catch.

"We found out the grant was paid out only after the homes sold. It wasn't paid out to do work on the homes as we were doing it," he said.

So far, no homes have sold. Much of the nonprofit's rehab capital is tied up in another yet-to-be sold-out neighborhood, but Evans said he is still committed to the historic district promise.

"Challenge for us is to find the market," Evans said.