Volunteers begin rehabbing Round Lake Beach house
The '70s-era split level on Woodland Drive, just up the street from the shores of Round Lake, doesn't appear to be in terrible shape. However, as with many foreclosed houses, deficiencies aren't always obvious.
"Many things to be done inside," said Michael Mader, director of real estate services for the Affordable Housing Corporation of Lake County. "It's been neglected over the years and needs some attention."
A new heating and cooling system, appliances, kitchen cabinets, carpets, doors and bathroom overhauls are on the replacement or update list for what will be about a $60,000 rehab expected to take four to six weeks to prepare the Round Lake Beach house to be sold.
The process began Friday morning as about 15 volunteers affiliated with the housing group or the Lake County Property Investors Group began demolition in advance of skilled tradesman and others who would donate their time Saturday.
"This will find a good family someday," said William Powers, chairman of the housing group board and head of RTO Property LLC, a for-profit company that buys and flips houses.
This house has been vacant about a year and isn't the worst in a neighborhood that includes many old structures, built before local building codes, as summer cottages without basements or foundations.
But the required work is enough that flippers wouldn't buy them because there isn't enough profit to be made, Powers said.
"We're taking some of the worst of the worst," he said of the housing organization's mission. "We're trying to redevelop neighborhoods challenged by blight and foreclosure."
The group's focus the past two years has been on Round Lake Beach and Mundelein, among communities hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, Mader said. The organization operates with federal and state grants to reduce blight.
"We're on (number) 49," he said. "We've got 24 of them going right now on one end or the other."
The Woodland Drive house was acquired at a sheriff's sale. When finished, it will be resold by AHC to an eligible family based on income. For example, the total household income for a family of four can't exceed $90,000, according to Rob Anthony, CEO of the housing organization.
"Free work is huge. It allows us to extend grant dollars," he said. Volunteer work days have other benefits.
"There are some stereotypes and myths about what affordable housing looks like and who lives in affordable housing," Anthony said. "It really helps educate people."
Round Lake Beach officials have made improving neighborhoods -- including the Woodland Drive area -- a priority, said Lisa Pugliese, community development director. The village has acquired and rehabbed or demolished dozens of blighted or abandoned properties in town, including about 25 the past two years, she said.
Pugliese said the village welcomes nonprofit partners and provides the housing corporation with a line of credit to buy properties.
"We're making a better life for people. That's what it comes down to," said volunteer Dean DePew, who runs Colton Companies, a Waukegan-based home investment firm.