There are some homes that nobody can seem to salvage.
And when those homes appear, Chelsea Restoration has routinely stepped up to the plate. Now, with a hefty state grant in their coffers, they are ready to salvage two more Chelsea properties.
Helen Zucco of Chelsea Restoration said that the non-profit recently got a $450,000 grant from the Attorney General’s Office to pursue receivership of derelict homes in Revere, Chelsea and Saugus. That grant will allow them to start the process of fixing the homes – some of them in absolute chaotic conditions – and then re-selling them to the owner or, preferably, a veteran.
“It’s really great because it helps to strengthen the City’s neighborhoods, especially targeting and eliminating homes that are boarded up,” she said. “Through receivership of the property, it gives us the opportunity to renovate it and then the previous owner can redeem it for the costs, or if that cannot happen, we will re-sell it and we’re happy to do that. This time our goal is that we hope to be able to sell the properties to veterans.”
City Manager Jay Ash said that having Chelsea Restoration is valuable to help the community deal with the leftovers of the foreclosure crisis.
“The foreclosure crisis has hit so many in our community really hard and threatens the work we’re doing to enhance our neighborhoods,” he said. “We’ve asked AG Coakley for help and she’s responded in a big way. I’m encouraged by this news and know that the Chelsea Restoration Corporation will use the funding to do what it has been doing for years, help families and improve the quality of our local housing stock.”
Chelsea Restoration has operated in Chelsea for several years, providing first-time homebuyer classes and foreclosure counseling. Through those services, a few years ago they realized there was a strong need for taking properties and rehabilitating them. They first did that in Chelsea, and then moved those services to Revere about four years ago.
A second effort in Revere last year also proved successful.
According to a press release from the organization, the two properties in Chelsea that will be rehabilitated are:
•70 Addison St.
•101 Shurtleff St.
“So far, in Chelsea, we’ve completed eight to 10 properties with receivership,” said Zucco. “Presently, we’re doing the project at 70 Addison St. and 101 Shurtleff St. to add to that. Both have challenges, and we’ll be renovating the properties and when completed, hopefully we’ll sell to a veteran. In the future, we’d like to pursue funding to renovate one of these homes for the disabled. We don’t have funding now, but that’s our goal.”
Zucco said getting the grant from the Attorney General’s Office is a great relief, as getting funding from banks for construction is next to impossible because Chelsea Restoration doesn’t actually own the properties.
“Nothing is cookie cutter in doing these,” she said. “One of the hardest parts is getting construction funding. In Revere, the City has provided us with funds and in Chelsea the same is true, but we do need a construction loan and there are only a small number of banks that will deal with us. The difficulty lies in that we are a court-appointed receiver, but we don’t own the property. Banks don’t like that, we are grateful to Peoples’ Bank in Revere and Chelsea Bank in Chelsea. They have worked hand-in-hand with us.”
Additionally, Zucco said that – due to foreclosures, abandonment and property tax defaults – there is a great need for receivership rehabilitation of homes. So far, only Chelsea Restoration is doing such work in the area, and that prompted Zucco to note that they would probably be expanding again.
“Right now, we are probably the only non-profit agency in this general area doing this,” she said. “People could look for the Chelsea Restoration going into other areas too besides Chelsea, Revere and Saugus.”
The grant will also provide for three property rehabilitations in Revere and several others in Saugus. All will have a veteran preference on the occasion of a re-sale.