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Home, Inc. broke ground on an affordable house on Cemetery Street for the Wyant family, from right, Ziven, Calum, Erica, Rudy and Caleab. Others pictured are Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel, Council members Lori Askeland and Brian Housh and other project partners.

Affordable homes started on Cemetery Street

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Home, Inc., broke ground on the Village’s first public affordable housing project on Friday, Aug. 15, with future homeowners Erica and Caleab Wyant digging in.

It is the first of four affordable homes to be built in two phases on the Village-owned property on Cemetery Street.

Having squeezed their five-person family into two bedrooms at the Hawthorne Place apartments for the last five years, Erica, 32, and her husband, 28, are eager to soon have a home spacious enough for sons Ziven, 15, and Calum, 12, to have their own rooms, and for daughter Rudy, 3, to dance and run around without disturbing the neighbors below.
“We just wanted our own space and we always pictured our kids growing up in a real house.” Erica said this week.

Erica is a Toledo native who manages a group home for mentally-disabled adults in Dayton, and Caleab, of Kansas, Ohio, is a production worker at an Enon tie dye t-shirt company. The 1,330-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home will give the family space to spread out, and will allow the couple to pursue their creative collaborations in music, film and photography, they said this week. The couple writes music and performs as electronic punk outfit YIKES! A Band, while Caleab is currently working on a screenplay and graphic novel.

Home, Inc. Executive Director Emily Seibel is equally excited by what she called a “historic” and “symbolic” project. The Cemetery Street development took off in 2011 when Village Council approved a memorandum of understanding brought forth by then-President Judith Hempfling and member Lori Askeland to sell four lots on 0.7 Village-owned acres on Cemetery Street for half their value, appraised recently at $42,500 each, for the construction of permanently affordable homes. Home, Inc. was later selected as the developer after a request for proposal from eligible non-profits. Using Home, Inc.’s community land trust model, in which homebuyers agree to take a more modest return-on-investment, the property will remain affordable to future occupants as well, Seibel said.

“This is a symbol of the village’s commitment to inclusion and diversity at our northern gateway, and will be for years to come,” Seibel said. “It’s wonderful to see the community coming together behind the idea that Yellow Springs is a stronger village by supporting economic diversity in a powerful way.”
Home, Inc. has since leveraged the Village’s support by raising $167,498 towards the total cost of the development, estimated at $740,000. Funding for the Wyant home, which will cost $185,000 to construct, also came from the Morgan Family Foundation, the Ohio Community Development Finance Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, Vectren Foundation and the Huntington National Bank. Home, Inc. aims to raise about one-third of the total construction costs to make the house affordable to its “underserved clients,” Seibel said.

Read the full story in the Aug. 14 issue of the News.

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