Friends save $50 a week to bring life back into forgotten homes

ByBeccah Hendrickson via WPVI logo
Saturday, August 10, 2019
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Friends save $50 a week until they can afford property. Beccah Hendrickson reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on August 9, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania -- Five young developers are hoping to change lives one dollar at a time.

They're planning on transforming rundown buildings into affordable homes.

It'd be easy to blow past the 5700 block of Harmer Street in West Philadelphia without realizing it's there; but if you did find the block, chipped paint and boarded doors - the skeleton of a house forgotten for over a decade - is the first thing you'd see.

"It's a property that we can come and bring the life back to it so it's not just an ugly eyesore on the block," said Najee Hannigan, one of the new owners of the house.

"We're from these areas, this is our home, so we are going to be the change agents in the area," said Tyree Harvey, one of Hannigan's partners.

They're not your typical real estate developers. There are five partners in this real estate venture. Each has a day job, and each saved $50 a week for two years until they had enough money to buy a property.

"I was raised just living paycheck to paycheck. Just trying to my bills out the way, make it to the next check, and have a little fun in between," said Meqai Herder, "(Hannigan) kept telling me, 'bro, I'm going to change your life. Watch what's about to happen.'"

"I feel like as millennials, we're not understanding. Like only save if it's $100, only save if it's $200, not thinking that $20 adds up," said Hannigan.

The team says this property is just the beginning and they want to buy a thousand more properties like the one on Harmer Street that they can fix up and rent out to people in the neighborhood.

"Our goal was to buy real estate in the communities and make affordable living for people who had generations of families who lived here their entire life and still want to live here," said Hannigan.