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REHAB PROGRAM SCORES VICTORY ON VICTORIA AVE.

A year ago, several homes on Victoria Avenue had become dilapidated eyesores and were slated for demolition.

Now, the first of five has been rehabilitated and sold by the Fillmore Leroy Area Residents group (FLARE).

The up and down double at 184 Victoria Ave. is just perfect for the single mother who purchased the house for her and her two children, ages 8 and 14, on one level and her mother on the other, said Yvonne C. McCray, FLARE executive director.

"This is a triumph for all of us," she said. "We put 20 years onto a house that was going to be demolished."

The home was vacant for many years when FLARE purchased it late last year for $2,000 with funding from a Community Housing Development Organization grant through the City of Buffalo.

Rehabilitation work began the week of Christmas. Four other homes in that neighborhood also will be rehabilitated under FLARE's acquisition rehabilitation program.

"They were vacant, abandoned homes -- some city-owned and some absentee landlord properties -- that needed attention. We looked at what was available and the board of directors said they wanted to start on Victoria Avenue," McCray said.

Last week, the new owner, a county employee currently living in public housing, received confirmation of the mortgage. This is her first home.

Once FLARE has completed the five homes on Victoria Avenue, it will set its sights on upgrading nearby Wakefield Avenue, where McCray's father lives.

"It would be great to see the neighborhood getting back to the way I remember," she said.

email: dswilliams@buffnews.com

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