New Davenport project helping one woman realize her dream of home ownership

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- Krist Breheny has big dreams for one old house in Davenport. She's about to close the deal on the white, two-story home built around 1880. But before she can move in, it's going to need some work.

"We're gonna try to do siding," she explains. "We're gonna get estimates on the siding and see how it looks... It's gonna take us probably a good month and a half to two months to get stuff out of the house. It's been abandoned that long."

The house seems to have been long forgotten. Paint is chipping away from the walls. Windows are broken. And Breheny says raccoons are living inside.

But she's not backing away from the challenge.

"One of the best things that could happen to me," she says. "It's my project. And it's gonna be my house in my name."

She says her dream of owning her own home is now possible because of Davenport DREAM, a new project from the city that will help her cover the repairs and upgrades.

City council members approved the program on Wednesday, June 26.

$900,000 in grant money will be available July 1st to help people cover the cost of home repair. Applications will be available starting that day online. The funding is designated for a specific area of the city, roughly stretching from Locust Street to River Drive and Bridge Avenue to S Fairmount Street.

Rawson says the city found this area was especially in need of financial help with older neighborhoods and many abandoned houses there. She says there's also funding available for homeowners outside that area. She says each application will be considered on a case by case basis and includes a home inspection before approval.

"It's really a revitalization effort to get people more excited about our more mature neighborhoods, to get them looking seriously about living in these neighborhoods," Fifth Ward Alderman Rita Rawson says.

"The hope is to get people excited and energized about the neighborhoods and to get that one or two properties on a block that kind of raise the bar," she says.

Breheny says she hopes her home improvement project will do just that.

"Maybe if they see me do this to the house, maybe it'll influence others to help with their houses," she says.

Breheny isn't sure how long it'll take to fix up her dream house. She hopes to eventually live on the first floor and rent out the second floor.

Davenport DREAM is currently a pilot program and is only funded for one year through the Community Development Block Grant and Capital Improvement Programs. Rawson says the City Council could look at additional money in the future to expand the program.

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