Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cincinnati approves funding for OTR permanent supportive housing

A permanent supportive housing project for the homeless will receive the final funding it needs to begin construction, thanks to an approval from Cincinnati City Council.

Council passed an ordinance to transfer $1.45 million in federal HOME funds from three existing project accounts to fund the City's portion of the Jimmy Heath House, a 25-unit project at 209-219 Odeon Street spearheaded by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing and 3CDC.

The project, based upon the "Housing First" model practiced in more than 150 cities and counties throughout the county, is meant to provide permanent housing for the chronically homeless, who generally cycle between the streets, shelters, jail cells, and emergency rooms.

The hope is that a stable living situation and on-site services will move tenants toward sobriety.

Three of the 25 apartments will be designated as U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Low Rent HOME assisted units, and eight will be designated High Rent HOME assisted units. Residents will not be required to pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.

HGC Construction has been hired as the general contractor, and construction is expected to last approximately one year after demolition begins this summer.

Additional project funding will come from State of Ohio Housing Development Gap Financing, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, a Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care Samaritan Initiative Grant, Spirit of America National Bank, and a small private grant.

Councilmembers Chris Bortz, Leslie Ghiz, and Chris Monzel voted against the ordinance.

Previous reading on BC:
OTRCH: Jimmy Heath House is not 'shelter', but a proven concept (6/22/09)