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Glen Cottages, located on Xenia Avenue, is Yellow Springs’ first pocket neighborhood, a new village zoning designation. (Photo by Cheryl Durgans)

Open house for Glen Cottages

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In the face of unprecedented COVID-19 construction challenges and obstacles, Glen Cottages, an affordable housing development located at 1133 Xenia Ave., will soon be ready for move-in. This was the message from Emily Seibel, executive director of YS Home, Inc., at the nonprofit group’s annual meeting held virtually Tuesday, Aug. 3.

Twelve permanent housing units, including six rentals and six single-family homes, will provide much needed affordable housing options in Yellow Springs, according to Seibel. Breaking ground in November 2020, the Cottages were built during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and are a milestone for Home, Inc.

“Home Inc.’s biggest project to date is also our biggest achievement to date as an organization, which is the Glen Cottages Pocket Neighborhood,” Seibel said.

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However, fulfilling a key organizational mission, which is to provide permanently affordable and sustainable housing, at the height of a pandemic that saw skyrocketing housing prices, proved challenging for the project that began in earnest in 2016. The $2.25-million project includes $1.5 million in grants and loans, including a capital campaign organized by Home, Inc., in 2019.  The project faced a budget shortfall when construction costs rose dramatically in 2020 because of a nationwide housing boom that resulted in an increase in the demand for lumber and other construction costs.

“We were ready for the project to start when COVID-19 struck. Groundbreaking was delayed, construction was delayed, lumber prices skyrocketed,” Seibel said. “The first bid we got back was $350,000 over budget, and life as we knew it was deferred.”

Seibel also reported that Home, Inc. had to raise additional funds and revise their financial model before breaking ground.

Glen Cottages’ arrival is timely considering the recent statistics provided by Home, Inc. at their annual meeting regarding the state of affordable housing in Yellow Springs. The organization reported that people with the median income in YS cannot afford the median home sale price as market values outpace incomes, and that more than half of all renters in YS are housing cost burdened, meaning they pay too much in housing costs to live comfortably and often must choose between basic provisions to make ends meet.

“So, while a lot of people struggle with quality affordable housing and housing choice, we all know someone who has been displaced because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” Seibel concluded.

Yellow Springs Home, Inc. is hosting an open house to celebrate the opening of the Glen Cottages on Wednesday, Aug. 25, from 4–7 p.m. The News will cover the opening celebration in a future article.

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