Nonprofit to renovate 68 St. Petersburg homes

A sense of pride is starting to build in some of St. Petersburg's struggling neighborhoods.
 
A nonprofit group is preparing to renovate 68 homes and turn them into affordable housing. 
 
Tackling home improvement projects just isn't possible for Ella and Cyrus Jenkins. 
 
"The back bathroom, the floor, some of the ceilings need to be redone," said Ella. 
 
In 2004 Cyrus suffered a heart attack, followed by another in 2011. Since then, he's been permanently disabled and unable to work. 
 
"I had to retire to take care of him, so we just haven't been able to do anything," said Ella. 
 
That's all about to change. Their home along with many others were recently purchased by the nonprofit Builder of Hope. The company is spending more than $3 million on plans to renovate rundown and sometimes abandoned homes in Midtown and Childs Park areas of St Petersburg. 
 
"It's a civic pride issue," said city leader Ben Kirby. 
 
Kirby and other leaders hope the project will revitalize poverty stricken neighborhoods and inspire a new future. 
 
"It will help make them the kind of places where families and people want to come and invest their own money," Kirby said.
 
That investment could also breathe new life into local businesses. 
 
"It could bring different people to the area and a lot more caring to the neighborhood," said CA Cafe owner Carrie Parker. 
 
Even more amazing is all the work that will be completed in 90 days. While the properties receiving the work are scattered throughout the area, the question remains, will one home here and there make that big of a difference? 
 
Delcenkia Clary thinks so. 
 
"If people see one house looks better and looks like it’s been improved, people will want to have their homes improved, too," said Clary.
 
For the Jenkins family, it's not just home improvement, it's life-changing. 
 
"We are very, very proud, we're proud of this house as it is," said Jenkins. "But just imagine it getting redone, facelift and everything like that. It means the whole world."
 
The company has received 20 permits so far and plans to start work next week.
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