"This is a momentous occasion for me,” says Peta-Gay Lewis, talking to a group of people gathered in her recently purchased home in Ivy City. Peta-Gay, a longtime Ward 5 resident, had dreamed about becoming a homeowner but didn’t think the District would be a possibility because of the rising costs of homes. Her father, a DC Public School bus driver stationed within Ivy City became excited when Peta-Gay told him there was a possibility he would get to see his two granddaughters on a daily basis if they were lucky enough to qualify for one of the single family homes Mi Casa had slated to finish building in 2011. Filled with excitement, Mr. Lewis said he wanted to view all of the available locations so he could help pick "just the right spot" since he knew the neighborhood so well.
"After seeing the great craftsmanship of the Ivy City Phase I condos, I knew I couldn't go wrong with purchasing one of the single family homes. I submitted a contract even before the ground was broken for the building process to start because I knew I would get a quality built home,” said Peta-Gay. It was a challenging process to get that point – Peta-Gay had to work on her credit and complete stacks of paperwork to access the first-time homebuyer resources offered by the District that made the home afforable. But with patience, persistence and the support of Mi Casa, her dream did come true.
Peta-Gay believes in Ivy City and its potential as a positive environment for her daughters, ages 9 and 6. Even before they moved into their home, Peta-Gay joined the Ivy City Neighborhood Association, of which she is now treasurer! Her daughters began coming with her to meetings just to be able to sit on their new front porch. “From the bottom of our hearts, we are truly grateful to everyone who helped us get here. My girls love their new home,” says Peta-Gay.
"This Old House" Returns to Mi Casa
Three years after partnering with Mi Casa on the renovation of an abandoned Victorian row house, the PBS home makeover show "This Old House" returned to Mi Casa to check on the project's outcome. Mi Casa had acquired the house in the northwest Shaw neighborhood through the DC government Home Again, initiative, which targets blighted properties for renovation throughout the city. The program focuses on the family who purchased the house - Francisco and Maria Velasquez and their four children. Originally from El Salvador, the couple had worked and lived in Washington DC as renters for 16 years before becoming homeowners. The episode will air in late February/early March 2010 on local PBS affiliates; check with This Old House for air times.
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