By MIKE HUBERT NEW YORK (AP) An architect is making a play for a former tenant in a building where she once lived.
An architect is fighting to get the home she once shared with her mother, now an aunt, restored.
It was her last chance to be a full-time homeowner in the tiny apartment she shared with his parents in this sprawling, historic city for more than 60 years.
It was a house she loved.
But now, it’s a shell of a home, one of a growing number of cities struggling with an affordable housing crisis.
A couple of weeks after she moved in in 2012, Barbara Wills moved in with her parents, who owned a restaurant in the city.
They had recently moved into a larger apartment with a bigger backyard and garage.
Her parents, a real estate agent and a financial planner, lived there.
Wills has been a home owner for 14 years, mostly with her own money.
She’d had several properties before she was turned away by the developer who was trying to buy her home.
In her early 30s, she got a mortgage.
She borrowed from her parents but had trouble making the payments, and she started looking into getting a loan on her own.
In her search, she discovered that an architect, David Eberhardt, had worked on a series of houses for the city that she had bought for $200,000 and renovated.
It was the only place in the country she could afford to live.
Eberhardt also helped a group of friends who had a mortgage for the house, and he pitched the idea to her.
She said the house was worth more than her parents’ apartment.
Eberhart said she could have lived there forever.
He’d pay for it himself.
He wanted her to put a roof over her head and get a job in a real-estate company.
He promised to rebuild the home.
She did not have to pay more than $700 a month for the first two years, and it cost less than $10,000 over the next four years.
But she also would have had to work part-time to make ends meet, pay rent and buy groceries.
The house’s value would have declined by $200 a month over the first four years, according to the contract, but the value of the home would rise by $350,000.
When Eberhart started working on the new house, she was given the responsibility to make a list of problems the city needed to address.
She would help him fix some of them.
She spent about six months making the list, then she was let go, her parents said.
The house is a shell.
It is the third time in about a decade that Wills has lost a home because she was not paid for the work.
Her father, an accountant, said he is working on a case against the city to get his son’s work back.
Willing said she’s tired of being told to “get on board with a program that doesn’t work.”
She’s not happy that the city is letting her go so soon, that the project has to be paid for on a per-month basis, she said.
She was surprised that she was put in the position of having to make the decision to move out of her apartment.
“They were telling me I had to pay for my own housing,” she said, laughing.
“I thought I was doing the right thing.”
Ebers, the architect, said Wills’ experience in the program is typical.
He said he has worked on projects that were not funded by the city, that had been in the works for years but had not been approved by the City Council, and that were built at great expense.
He said his goal is to create a program similar to what the city does for other projects.
The program has been in place for about a year, and Wills said she hopes to be able to move into her new house soon.
Barbara Wills, an architect who has lived in a property she built for the last 14 years with her father, said she would have liked to have stayed in the project but was disappointed with the decision.
She was let off without pay.
The project was built with the city’s money and has been financed with the money, she added.
The architect said he believes the city has overreached in letting people out of apartments.
“I’m just tired of the system,” he said.
___AP writer Andrew J. Smith contributed to this report.