Officials participate in ribbon cutting ceremony for Buford Manor.
Delaware State Housing Authority Director Anas Ben Addi (far left) and Regional Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent (third from right) join residents of Buford Manor for a photo.
HUD Delaware Field Office Director Maria Bynum joins Anas Ben Addi for a tour of the homes.
Nestled in the quiet neighborhood of Belvedere in New Castle County, PA, Buford Manlove Manor, an affordable senior rental community, has been transformed! HUD Regional Administrator Jane C.W. Vincent and other partners were on hand to help cut the ribbon on the new and improved apartment homes. With updated kitchens and bathrooms, the 40 one-bedroom apartments were light filled and looked like new homes. Vincent remembers when the community was first built and was glad to be able to join in the grand re-opening ceremony on August 14, 2013.
"I was here for the original grand opening in 1982 so these apartments are close to my heart," said Vincent. "It's such a wonderful neighborhood!"
Residents now have a brand new community building which has a management office, maintenance office and community room. The community room includes a warming kitchen and a computer lounge for residents to use.
Thirty-three of the apartments are for seniors whose annual income does not exceed 50% of the New Castle County Area Median Income (AMI). The remaining 7 units are for seniors earning no more than 60% of the New Castle County AMI. Eight of the homes are fully accessible for those who have disabilities.
The $7.5 million dollar rehabilitation of this community was financed by HUD funds, equity raised from the sale of low-income housing tax credits, a mortgage with Citibank, and funds from the Delaware State Housing Authority and New Castle County HOME program funds.
"In these times when federal dollars are shrinking at an incredible rate, it's good to develop partnerships," said Alan Matas, the general manager of the New Castle County Department of Community Services.
The Buford Manlove Manor carries the name of the first black fire chief in the State of Delaware. He established the Belvedere Fire Company to serve the Belvedere community.
"He was ultimately a treasure to the State of Delaware," said Sean Closky, president of the TRF Development Partners. "This was really his place and we should be thankful that we are able to stand on the shoulders of those who went before us."
Closky explained in the 1940's Belvedere lost residents in fires because there was no fire company serving the community. He added that Manlove took it upon himself to create a fire company and fought a 15 year court battle to obtain the same equipment that other fire companies had. To honor his accomplishments, in between the homes and the community building, is a bell made out of parts of a fire engine that serves as a tribute to Manlove.
Perhaps one of Manlove's legacies is that seniors like William Coombs have a safe, beautiful affordable home. Mr. Coombs who was relocated while the renovations were being done on his apartment seemed to think the renovated apartment was worth the wait. Hear his story.