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Father-Daughter Duo Turns Commercial Building Into Affordable Housing

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Father-Daughter Duo Turns Commercial Building Into Affordable Housing

A father-daughter team from Wilmington, Del., worked to rehab a vacated property and make it fit for occupancy, and by June, it will be a residential haven for dozens of new tenants 

April 14, 2023
Wilmington commercial building
Image: Delaware News Journal

In 2020, father-daughter duo Marva Hammond and Charlie Falletta formed the nonprofit Southbridge Community Services and bought a dilapidated building in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington, Del. With a flood of investment and a lot of heavy lifting, Hammond, a Delaware State Housing Authority employee who manages the state agency's rental assistance program, and Falletta, an entrepreneur, transformed the property into the Southbridge Community Services building.

At just under 13,000 square feet, the building was fully remodeled for mixed retail and residential use, and in a few weeks, its first tenants from a homeless shelter will move into their new apartment homes, the Delaware News Journal reports.

Heartbroken by the stories she hears at her day job, Hammond said she was driven to create this opportunity for those who are homeless. "I have firsthand knowledge of having conversations with individuals that are literally living in their cars or couch surfing, or transitioning into shelter-like living because they're doing the best that they can, and they can't afford the rent."

The developers collaborated with the New Castle County Hope Center, a temporary emergency shelter, to identify tenants. "We specifically are trying to get older people, particularly veterans," Falletta said. They expect that leases will be signed soon and people will move in beginning in June.

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