Wellington Heights neighborhood in Cedar Rapids revitalized - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wellington Heights neighborhood in Cedar Rapids revitalized

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - Josh and Alyssa Hulme have been married for almost three years, just became parents in December, and at the ages of 20 and 22 are about to become first-time homeowners.

"It's amazing," said Alyssa Hulme. "It's definitely nothing that we ever really expected."

Their new home will be the first new home in Cedar Rapids' Wellington Heights neighborhood in more than 50 years.

Four Oaks and the Affordable Housing Network, Inc. (AHNI) have been working to revitalize this neighborhood that's most often associated with crime.

The groups believe that neighborhoods thrive when more than 60 percent of homes are owner-occupied. Wellington Heights is at 40 percent.

"There are a lot of houses that have been divided into apartments, so we're trying to undo that to bring the neighborhood back," said Liz Mathis, Chief Community Officer for Four Oaks and AHNI.

The groups are working to rehabilitate 100 properties, and plan on having five new homes built in the neighborhood.

Thanks to city and state funds, those houses will cost just $85,000 to $90,000.

"I don't think you can get a better deal on a new house than that," said Corey Houchins-Witt, real estate development director for AHNI.

The cost is what's helping the Hulmes buy. They already live in the neighborhood and believe in it.

"It's a community," said Josh Hulme. "We've got to know all of our neighbors. We eat with them. We hang out with them."

They'll raise their son there and hope the organizations achieve their goals for the area.

Skogman Homes and the Neighborhood Development Corporation will be building the five new homes.

But first, the AHNI needs to line up potential buyers. The deadline for those buyers is April 15.

If you're interested, contact Corey Houchins-Witt at 319-364-0859. You can learn more about AHNI's programs here.

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