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Affordable Housing Gives Flood Victims Chance to Rebuild

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PRINCEVILLE — The ominous red X's on flood-ravaged houses read "Keep out" to their owners.

But the X's are going away one by one as hundreds of volunteers converge on Princeville every weekend to help rebuild homes.

Some houses are too damaged to ever be called "home" again.

The East Tarboro-Princeville Community Development Corporation and the General Baptist State Convention unveiled an answer to some residents' prayers.

They opened the first post-flood new home built from the ground up and broke ground on a second home.

"This house does more than just give somebody a new house to live in. It provides hope for an entire communuty," says development coordinator Thurman Everett.

Part of that hope is the dream of being a first-time homeowner for many of the people who rented their residences before the flood.

"We believe that if an individual can pay $300 a month in rent, we believe they can own their own home," Everett said.

Town leaders say the low-cost housing is vital to keeping people in Princeville.

"In Princeville, there were a lot of houses that were handed down generation to generation," said Princeville mayor Delia Perkins.

"The problem we have here in Princeville, the storm was devastating and some folks had one mortgage or two before the flood came," Everett said.

The new development of 15 homes is called Pheonix Village -- -- "that we might see this city rise up from the ashes of the flood," Everett said.

The Community Development Corporation has received 30 applications from people who want to buy the new homes. A second development is being planned for a 125-acre tract just outside the city limits.