Two years ago, Gio and Melissa Lozado were renters, living in a one-bedroom apartment on the 600 block of Walnut Street in Easton.
A few blocks away, the house at 733 Ferry St. sat empty, closed off by the city's health department.
Today, the Lozados are homeowners. Their home? 733 Ferry, where the uninhabitable living conditions have been replaced with bamboo flooring and state-of-the-art utilities.
The Lozados purchased their home through a program run by the that rehabs dilapidated homes. On Tuesday, they opened their new house to the public.
"First house, you gotta go out with a bang, I guess," said Gio Lozada, as people chatted and munched appetizers in the kitchen. Esther Guzman, of the
"We couldn't have asked for a better couple," said the authority's Gretchen Longenbach. "It's exactly what we're trying to accomplish, having people from the community become owners in the community."
Proceeds from the sale of the Ferry Street property will go toward the rehab of another property. Selling that property will pay for flipping another home, and so on.
This is the third house the city has , according to Mayor Sal Panto.
One of the three was in the West Ward, at 1008 Ferry Street. The house had deteriorated, but it was brought back to livable condition--in an energy efficient manne, Panto said. The same type of rehab was undertaken on the house at 540 Berwick Street, across from the fire station on the Southside.
In the foreseeable future, Longenbach said, the project will stick to the West Ward, because of the funding requirements mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The ERA has requested a $1 million grant from HUD, Longenbach said. The goal is to eventually do the project on a larger scale, "and make more of an impact than we're already making."