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Photos: Newly Renovated Homes in Bellevue

A house that was severely burned in a fire a year and a half ago is now livable again and so is its its neighboring home thanks to Housing Opportunities of Northern Kentucky (HONK).

The Covington-based non-profit organization hosted an open house at two houses on the 500 block of Taylor Avenue in Bellevue on Tuesday. Bellevue Mayor Ed Riehl helped cut the ribbon on the homes, one of which is already under lease contract and the other is under a contract for ownership as well.

HONK was supported by the Bank of Kentucky, the R.C. Durr Foundation, Toyota, Macy's Foundation, and others in renovating its latest two properties.

“Our mission involves more than just fixing up homes,” said David Hastings, HONK’s Executive Director.  “It is really about transforming lives, helping people succeed as homeowners, and at the same time, revitalizing neighborhoods.”

Like most HONK projects, in addition to skilled local contractors and HONK’s own construction crew, volunteers from all walks of life contributed to the renovations.  “Volunteers play a critical role in HONK’s ability to keep the homes affordable,” Hastings said.  “We are very grateful to all involved.” 

Two families have been selected as the future homeowners from a pool of applicants.  HONK’s Housing Counselor, Lynne Roeding, has been working with both families to prepare them for their homeownership opportunity.  “Both families are very excited to have this opportunity to become homeowners,” said Roeding.  “They are eager to start the next chapter in their lives together.”

Chris and Nicole Roberts are leasing to own the property that was charred by fire eighteen months ago. 

"It feels awesome," Chris said "We're so excited, it's not even funny." The Roberts are already planning to start moving in on Tuesday night.

"Bellevue is a nice community," Chris said. He particularly likes having a park at the end of the street and the fact that he and Nicole will no longer have to live in her mother's basement where they've stayed for two years.

HONK is a faith-based, non-profit organization that has rehabbed 75 homes and built 33 homes in Northern Kentucky over the past 21 years, creating affordable homeownership opportunities for local families who otherwise would not be able to realize the dream of homeownership.  HONK’s investment adds value to neighborhoods and helps stabilize and improve surrounding property values because the sales price of HONK homes are based on the appraised value. 

Potential buyers have to either have the income and credit to support a mortgage right away or work to achieve it throughHONK’s lease-purchase program, which allows them to save for a down payment, improve their credit, and get used to the utility costs and maintenance expectations in the home they are working to purchase.  This process usually takes about 18 months.

For more information about HONK, including stories about homeowners and volunteers as well as how to apply for HONK’s homeownership opportunities, visit www.honkhomes.org or call HONK at 859-581-4665.  

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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