Seniors

Low-income senior housing builder presents to Council

At their May 17 meeting, members of Village Council heard a presentation on low-income senior housing from Lynn Dalton, president of the Franklin Foundation of Columbus. The nonprofit group has built 14 senior communities in Ohio, and is interested in partnering with the Village or local nonprofits to build one in Yellow Springs, she said.

The group’s interest in the village began several years ago when a Greene County pastor approached the foundation with an interest in building a new center in the county. According to Dalton, statistics showed that Yellow Springs was “a place that needs housing for those 55 and older who are experiencing rental burden,” which means people paying more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

While that project fell through, the Franklin Foundation remains interested in Yellow Springs. Federal funding is currently available for a project, Dalton said, and Greene County is one of the areas eligible for the funding.

The Franklin group built its first senior housing 19 years ago, and has since constructed housing in various communities, including five in Montgomery County. The typical resident is a woman aged 77 living on about $10,000 dollars a year, she said, and all properties are income restricted to individuals at or below 50 percent of the area median gross income of about $20,000ą$22,000 a year. An average rental payment is about $200 to $250 monthly, she said.

The Franklin Foundation communities tend to be a 24-unit single-floor complex, which aims for an intimate “family setting,” according to Dalton. They include a common room, a kitchen, library, patio and crafts room, along with regular monthly activities. The group seeks a two-acre parcel to construct a building, she said. In its most recent venture in Kettering, it purchased land from the City of Kettering.

“We are willing to work with you,” Dalton said, stating that the Franklin centers enjoy almost 100 percent occupancy. “We want to come into a community that needs this.”

Council members responded that they are not at this time able to commit to such a project, and that village entities such as the Friends Care Community and Home, Inc., who are already working on affordable housing, are the priorities. They encouraged Dalton to contact those groups to explore the possibility of partnerships.

However, Council members stated that this organization appears to be addressing the needs of a new group of villagers, in that the rental costs for the previously-planned FCC senior apartment project were considerably higher.

“These seem like opportunities we haven’t heard of before,” said Lori Askeland. “I like the idea of lower-cost housing.”

The Village-owned 30-acre Glass Farm is a plot of land that has many possibilities, according to Council President Judith Hempfling, who said that “we need to start thinking about how to use Village-owned land to meet the needs of the village.”

Ideas regarding how to use the Glass Farm may soon come out of the visioning process, Hempfling said.

Other business from the May 17 meeting will be in next week’s News.

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