The City of Alexandria will hold lotteries next Thursday to choose the low- or moderate-income families who will get a chance to buy five houses acquired and renovated by the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The houses were open for inspection four afternoons recently.
The two- and three-bedroom houses are the first five to be acquired by ARHA as part of a Community Development block grant program funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.The aim of the program is to purchase and rehabilitate vacant and boarded houses that have a blighting influence on the surrounding neighborhood. The City of Alexandria is subsidizing the cost of the houses.
Two of the houses being offered are at 16 and 18 E. Windsor Ave. in the Potomac West area of the city, which includes Del Ray, Arlandria, Lynhaven, Warwick Village, Mount Jefferson and lower Rosemont. The remaining three houses are at 1023 Queen St., which formerly was the Barbeque Grill, and at 322 and 708 N. Patrick St. in Potomac East. Potomac East is generally described as the downtown area of the city bordered by the RF&P rail lines and the Potomac River, excluding Old Town and the central business district.
Residents of Potomac West will have first priority to purchase the houses on E. Windsor Avenue. Residents of Potomac East will be given first priority on the other houses. Second priority will go to persons who live elsewhere in Alexandria, and third priority to those who work in Alexandria but do not live there.
Prospective buyers must meet the eligibility requirements of the Virginia Housing Development Authority, which allows for incomes of approximately $12,000 to $22,000 unadjusted.
Prices of the houses range from $47,500 for the two-bedroom house at 322 N. Patrick St., to $59,000 each for the identical, attached three-bedroom houses on E. Windsor Avenue.
A purchaser of the house at 1023 Queen St., which costs $53,500, would pay $900 down, and obtain a maximum mortgage loan of $31,600 at an estimated 7 percent interest from the Virginia Housing Development Authority, while the remaining $21,000 would be the city subsidy in the form of a second trust.
The buyer would make no payment on the noninterest-bearing trust unless the property was sold, or until the 99-year term of the trust expired. The second trust could be assumed by an heir of the original owner if he met the eligibility standards of VHDA.
The city will require that a prospective buyer agree to use the house as his sole residence, and that he obtain fire and disaster insurance in the amount of the city subsidy.
Although the houses on E. Windsor Avenue are still being renovated, all the houses are two-story frame structures with yards. Each will have a gas furnace, stove and hot water heater; and each will come equipped with refrigerator, garbage disposal and wall-to-wall carpeting.
According to Bob Brick, an official at ARHA, approximately 80 people have already submitted their names for the lottery. More people have expressed interest in the houses on Windsor Street than those in Potomac East.
The two houses on Patrick Street front on Rte. 1 North, and 1023 Queen St. is on the corner of Rte. 1 South. When asked if this was a disadvantage, Austin Chandler, a prospective purchaser, said, "The only problem I can see in this neighborhood is not the traffic on Rte. 1, but the potential for break-ins from the human traffic passing by, and even that doesn't bother me much."
Mildred Jones, Chandler's mother-in-law, said, "My great-grandparents lived in a big house on Fairfax Street and my grandparents on Lee Street. Very few people these days realize that black people used to live in mansions in Old Town. Now my child and her husband can't find housing in Alexandria."
"I think it's very disgusting when you get a family that makes $22,000 a year and can't get a loan to buy a home," said Chandler, who works for Catholic Charities.
Frank Ennis, who is interested in the E. Windsor Street houses, was enthusiastic about the city's initiative. "I think it's a great idea," he said.
Interested buyers who fall into one of the three priority categories, and who satisfy the income eligibilitystandards of VHDA should bring, in writing, their name, address, telephone number and the specific address they are interested in to S. Woolen, 417 S. Columbus St., Alexanria, 22314 by 5 p.m. tomorrow.
A person may enter lotteries for more than one house, however only one house may be purchased by the same applicant.
The lotteries will be held at a meeting in the basement of the Chamber of Commerce building at 400 S. Washington St. at 8 p.m. next Thursday.