Yusuf Jawara was born in Gambia and lived most of his life in Sierra Leone before emigrating to America as civil war broke out. He lived for years in New York and Philadelphia, Upper Darby and Conshohocken, but when it came time to buy his first home, he started looking inside Wilmington’s Creative District.
“I felt that this house just called to me,” Yusuf says. “I did a lot of research. As I walked in this home, I never looked at another one.”
Yusuf became the first resident of the Willing Street Artist Village, a project of the Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware to transform six vacant houses in the city’s Quaker Hill District into 12 condos and homes.
“It’s a beautiful home. It’s about 875 square feet. There’s not a lot of yard to clean or grass to cut. All of those conditions are kind of perfect for me right now. And it’s my first home. I spend a lot of time outside, and when I see the neighbors I walk up and introduce myself. Everyone is pretty cool.”
The Quaker Hill area is a bit quieter than some of the bigger cities where he’s lived, but more accessible than the suburbs. He said he appreciates the little things that local residents may take for granted, like the local train station that can get you to Penn Station in New York or 30th Street in Philly.
Already invested in his first home, Yusuf looks forward to investing in the community as a whole.
“I decided I should move to Wilmington because it has a lot of benefits – tax benefits, yes – but also, Wilmington is a very up-and-coming city. Maybe I can have a little impact moving here.”