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Morgan grant for housing

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The senior apartment development proposed for the Barr property received a boost last week when the Morgan Family Foundation committed $250,000 to help finance some of the units. The grant is contingent on receipt of the project’s main funding source through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which is expected to notify the developer, Buckeye Community Hope Foundation, and local sponsor, Home, Inc., of their approval sometime in April, according to Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel last week.

“We are thrilled with the Morgan grant because it more deeply roots the project in our community because it means that any senior could potentially live there,” Seibel said in an interview last week.

The 33-unit apartment project aims to provide affordable housing for seniors aged 55 and older. Most of the one- and two-bedroom units will be restricted to those making at or below 60 percent of area median income, including five units for those making 35 percent or below AMI. All of those units will be financed with federal tax credits issued through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. But in order to support a more diverse community, the developers will include four “over-income” units, whose construction cost cannot be funded by the housing tax credits that support only housing for those making 60 percent or less of AMI. Instead, the four over-income units will be financed by the Morgan Family Foundation grant, rent income and loans. The total project is expected to cost approximately $5.58 million, and once it’s fully occupied, the development is expected to generate over $30,000 in annual property tax revenue to the Village, Seibel said.

The Morgan grant also benefits the project by increasing evidence of community support, which will bolster the project’s score with the Ohio Housing agency in a very competitive field for tax credits, Seibel said. The senior apartments have already received a show of support from the village through the utility tap fee waiver, valued at approximately $20,000, as well as over a dozen letters and public statements in support of the project. These will also help raise the project’s likelihood of getting funded, Seibel said.

The apartment project has a number of supporters. Suzanne Patterson and Andrée Bognár, who have been volunteering for the project because of their personal interest in living there, have an updated list of 35 local residents who have indicated a “strong interest” in living in the senior apartments. About half of those who have signed up are income-qualified for the affordable units, while the others would be eligible for the over-income units.

While the over-income units are currently not income capped, Home, Inc. hopes to use some of the units for families making between 60 and 80 percent of AMI (AMI being about $50,000 for a family of two). Though families in that income range are not eligible for support from the tax credit model, some still have difficulty affording housing in the community, Seibel said.

Though there are more residents eligible for the over-income units than the number will support, the Morgan grant will help to make the four units available to a wider segment of the village.

“Senior housing is still a need in the community, and there aren’t a lot of good quality choices for seniors who are interested in downsizing,” Morgan Foundation Executive Director Lori Kuhn said this week. “We’re thrilled there’s a possibility that Home, Inc. may develop some dense housing close to down town that offers a lot of amenities within walking distance — it certainly would be attractive to seniors.”

The Morgan Foundation originally purchased the Barr property in 2005 to host a senior apartments proposed by Friends Care Community, and then gifted the property to Friends in 2008. Friends abandoned efforts to finance the project in 2010, and Buckeye Community Hope Foundation purchased an option to buy the property at market value if the current project received financing. The Morgan Family Foundation, therefore, has supported senior housing and services related to the Barr property twice in the past seven years.

“We’re still in it and hoping it will work out, though we realize that this too may not,” Kuhn said.

Buckeye has partnered with the Yellow Springs Senior Center to contract the social services of the home assistance program for its apartment residents. The facility will also have an on-site residence manager available several days a week to manage the property and help connect residents to support services they may need, Seibel said. With the Senior Center down the street and the apartment building within walking distance of nearly all of the day-to-day living needs, the facility will be serving a housing need in the community and providing a high quality of life for its residents, Seibel said.

“I couldn’t dream of a better place to support independent seniors,” she said.


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