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City, UTA and Housing Channel Collaborate to Build Affordable Home in East Arlington
By Lindsey Perkins Wade
Posted on April 18, 2018, April 18, 2018

On a windy, sunny Wednesday, nearly every sector of the community gathered at 820 Truman Street to celebrate an inventive and unique housing collaboration, known as Casa Cortile, that is bringing new affordable homeownership to Arlington.

The house construction site, not far from AT&T Stadium, is a symbol of teamwork, hands-on education, community cohesiveness and the American Dream. When complete, the 1,560-square-foot home will feature three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, a two-garage garage and a courtyard patio.

To make the project possible, the City of Arlington allocated $125,000 federal HOME Investment Partnership grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to the venture led by the nonprofit organization Housing Channel and UT Arlington's College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs. The entities, in partnership with Wells Fargo, Wall Homes, and other businesses, worked together to create a design-build project to give students the experience of designing and building a quality single-family home while working to provide affordable housing in the City.

"Besides real world applications, I hope students learn another lesson," said Councilmember Lana Wolff. "That lesson is that you can make a difference in your community."

UTA graduate Yesenia Brena and current senior Annaliese Snidow, whose design was selected for the project, were still in shock at the opportunity to see their architectural drawings come to life. They agreed that they can make a difference with their skills, as they have learned that the health, safety and welfare of the community are part of their responsibilities as architects, and ones they take seriously.

The Casa Cortile experience has meant so much to Snidow that she hopes the program continues, and Brena hopes the opportunity for hands-on experience at UTA encourages high school students to go to college and consider architecture as a major.

Not ones to be left out, the business community embraced Casa Cortile wholeheartedly. Wells Fargo donated the lot that the new house sits on, as well as sent volunteers to assist with building activities. Wall Homes and many other local corporate partners donated materials to the project such as shelving, doors, plumbing, technology, windows, HVAC materials and flooring.

The house is expect to be completed in about a month, at which point it will become available for purchase by a first-time homebuyer who meets income thresholds and has completed a Homeownership Course through the Arlington Homebuyer Assistance Program.

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