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Washington Monthly: Building Affordable Housing

Washington Monthly: Building Affordable Housing

A unique social venture rehabs and relocates distressed properties to create affordable, environmentally friendly housing.

by Ian Simmons, Blue Haven Initiative

During the building boom preceding the foreclosure crisis, Nancy Welsh could often be found at a construction site in Raleigh, North Carolina, wearing work boots and driving a Bobcat — excavating dirt for an affordable community development consisting of homes from other locations she had saved from the wrecking ball.

Homes were facing demolition to make way for shopping centers, hospitals, road-widening projects and McMansions. Tear-downs were proliferating because of escalating land values and gentrification. Many of these dwellings had seen better days but were structurally sound. Why not recycle them instead of filling up landfills with demolition debris?

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