Nonprofit restoring historic Roanoke West End home to offer affordable housing

Restoration Housing will transform the house into safe, affordable apartments.

ROANOKE, Va. – Another historic home in Roanoke's West End neighborhood is officially under construction.

The long-neglected 1900s-era home on Patterson Avenue was purchased by local nonprofit Restoration Housing, and now the real work begins.

The property has operated as affordable housing in the past. When it came up in an estate sale, Restoration Housing saw potential, plenty of work, but still potential to transform it into safe, quality housing without financial barriers.

"As you'll see floors are caving in, ceilings are caving in, these are conditions that young families live in which is really not acceptable," said Isabel Thornton, executive director of Restoration Housing.

The Patterson Avenue home is Restoration Housing's second property in the West End. Thornton said the West End neighborhood really is on the rise, and worth the investment.

"In our historic neighborhoods, a lot of these older homes that have been converted to apartments are in this condition. It's devastating to see but it's important for people to see so that they can understand why we need to invest," said Thornton. 

Just next door, Crystal Noel is thankful for that investment leap of faith. In the near future, her kids may have a new place to play and new neighbors to play with.

"I think it's going to be nice because right now we don't let them go over into the yard or let them play over there because we're afraid of everything that's been over there," said Noel. 

It may be more than 100 years old, the cracks and breaks hard to hide, but this little house of hope on Patterson Avenue is on its way to a new life, thanks to a nonprofit with big dreams. 

"To be a good steward of the property and the neighborhood, to help bring up the neighborhood and to provide affordable rents. To provide safe comfortable homes for these families so they don't have to worry about anything," said Thornton. 

Restoration Housing was able to raise funds to buy the property and it will be relying on historic tax credits for most of the construction costs. The construction is being handled by Square One Contracting. Thornton says she is hoping the house will be finished by the end of the year.