CHARLOTTE, N.C. (5/8/08)--A community development organization affiliated with Self-Help CU in Durham, N.C., is working to stabilize a troubled Charlotte neighborhood, Peachtree Hills, by purchasing, improving, and re-selling its foreclosed homes. The program is being implemented by the credit union's development entity, Self-Help Community Development Corporation. Its financing is through the Self-Help Ventures Fund. Self-Help CU is an entity under the Self-Help umbrella but not directly involved in the initiative. The program aims to “help a neighborhood that should not be in such distress,” Evan Covington-Chavez, Self-Help CU director of real estate development, told News Now. If Self-Help’s program works, the city of Charlotte will not have to invest in a long-term revitalization project for the neighborhood. The city already has such projects in several downtown neighborhoods. Peachtree Hills was built five years ago. Despite its youthful age, it “looks like an older neighborhood,” Chavez said. Peachtree homes originally were sold for about $100,000. Now, the foreclosed properties are valued at about $70,000. The vacated homes also have been easy targets for vandals. “There are windows broken and doors beaten in,” Chavez said. Self-Help hopes to purchase up to 25 of the foreclosed properties, although the exact number will depend on market circumstances. It also plans to offer a lease-to-purchase option for potential homeowners after the homes have been fixed up, Chavez said. Although it’s still early, Self-Help hopes to “see the effects of acquiring properties in the neighborhood” within a year, she said. Self-Help plans a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the program this summer.