A year ago the building was known as the most blighted property with the highest crime rate in the borough. Today, it has a new name, a new look, and a tenant with a new start on life.
There aren't a lot of words. Just overwhelming emotions for Patricia Dean who saw her apartment for the very first time, as the Declaration House, formerly known as the Denver House, officially opened with a ribbon cutting and open house.
"Real Life Community Service's mission statement is connecting the community to hope," Rod Redcay, Executive director of Real Life Community Services, the non-profit organization that led the project, said. "And let me tell you there's nothing better than actually helping someone who is need."
Built in 1863, the former bar and hotel became blighted and a place for high drug activity. Now it's home to ten income-based apartments, social service offices, retail space, and a medical center.
Dean, who has been staying with different family members, is just excited for a stable environment for her kids and her own place to call home.
"It's been a struggle on the family," Dean said. "It's been struggle on our relationships, especially on the kids so this was just a fresh start."
And a new lease on life.
"It just feels like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Dean said. "I have too much room. I'm going to need to go buy more stuff."
As of right now only 6 of the 10 apartments are occupied. The entire cost of the project is $3.5 million dollars.
Real Life Community Services has raised more than $3.4 million with the help of partners and donations. They only need $60,000 more to meet their goal.