Asked what she’s most excited about in her new West Akron house, Lakeia Whitson instantly responded: everything.
Whitson is one of the first residents to move into one of 30 houses in the Moon-Mallison Homes, a new development near the Akron Zoo.
“It’s exciting,” Whitson, a mother of three, said Tuesday as she stood in the kitchen of her new house, surrounded by boxes. “I can’t wait to get unpacked!”
East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp. (EANDC), which developed and owns the new complex, held an open house Tuesday to show the new single-family homes on Mallison Avenue, Raymond Street and Moon Street next to the Edgewood housing development.
“These homes are adding to the investment in this neighborhood,” said Grady Appleton, executive director of EANDC. “It’s a privilege to be part of the renaissance of this area.”
Four of the new houses have been rented and EANDC has a 30-person waiting list.
The new houses are three- or four-bedroom colonials and ranches with two-car garages, two full bathrooms, basements and lots that are at least 57 feet by 110 feet.
The development is geared to families who are at 60 percent of the local median household income, which is $38,640 a year for a family of four. Families who lease the homes will have the chance to purchase them at a reduced cost after 15 years. The rents range from $490 to $710 per month.
The $7.3 million project was largely funded through equity created by low-income housing tax credits. Other funding sources included a $1 million deferred loan from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, $418,000 in housing funds from Akron, and a $140,000 capital grant from Neighborworks America, according to EANDC.
Akron and EANDC worked together to amass 47 parcels that were vacant or had dilapidated houses that were torn down. These were consolidated into 30 lots large enough to accommodate the house layout and target lot size for the development.
It is the 12th housing project EANDC has done in Akron. The agency has begun to sell off the lease-purchase homes it built in its first project in the city where about half the residents are still in the homes, Appleton said.
Whitson, 27, is hoping to stay in the house she’s leasing on Mallison long enough to buy it. She found out about the new development while inquiring about the neighboring Edgewood development. She put in an application and was thrilled when she found out it had been accepted.
Whitson, a nursing assistant at Copley Health Center, will live in the house with her three children, ages 2, 6 and 12, and her 14-year-old cousin who is in her custody. The family previously lived in an older house in Goodyear Heights that also had four bedrooms, but had one full bathroom and a small basement.
Kristina, Whitson’s 6-year-old daughter, said, “I like the basement,” referring to space that will soon become a playroom. “It’s SO big!”
Whitson appreciates EANDC and the city working on new and affordable housing in an area that still has some boarded-up houses. “It brings the value of the neighborhood back,” she said. “It wasn’t so pretty.”
For information on the Moon-Mallison Homes, call the property management office at 330-724-1210.