$6M Kettering project seeks to move homeless into permanent housing

A nonprofit that opened a housing development in Kettering is targeting low-income and homeless people — an investment of about $6 million in tax credits, state and local funds.

Dayton-based Miami Valley Housing Opportunity purchased the property at 3908 Wilmington Pike, about a block north of Stroop Road. It completed a three-story, 40-unit apartment building that covers about 39,852 square feet, according to Debbie Watts Robinson, chief executive officer of MVHO.

“We’re excited about the site and its proximity to various amenities like the library,” Robinson said.

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The development provides permanent, supportive housing for men and women who have been homeless and are staying in Montgomery County shelters. The apartments are one-bedroom units with a kitchen and bathroom, encompassing about 700 square feet each. The building also includes some common areas.

There will be no children housed in the development, according to MVHO.

Elizabeth Gilmore, 23, who grew up in Kettering, and Daniel Kephart, 21, who made his way here from Orlando, both live there and say it has worked out well for them.

“It’s been amazing,” Gilmore said, of the housing development that opened last November. “You get your own free will and get to have your own space and cook when you want. You get rules, but you can make the rules for your apartment. It goes both ways. The apartments are pretty huge. The property has been kept up.”

“I personally enjoy having all the help from the case managers and the landlord that is here,” Kephart said. “And being able to get the food pantry that comes here.”

“Yeah, definitely the food pantry that comes in is a good thing,” Gilmore said.

Construction crews bulldozed the former Red Lobster building on the property to prepare the space for the new building.

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Gary James, who lives near the development and frequents the library a block down from the property, said he hasn’t noticed any problems with the new shelter.

“…This place is kept up and you don’t see anything crazy going on,” he said.

The nonprofit received Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Capital Funding to End Homelessness from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Other funding came from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and Montgomery County Housing Trust Funds and County Corp.

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Robinson said tenants will apply through Montgomery County and will be thoroughly vetted. Some of the supportive services at the facility include life-skills training for residents and two Five Rivers Health Centers exam rooms.

Terry Welker, chief building official for the city of Kettering, said the apartment complex is on a visible street and right on a major bus line, but the project is not one that the city is involved in.

In 2014, more than 4,400 different people stayed at one of the community shelters at least one night in Montgomery County. That included 549 families — or 1,714 people — plus 2,610 single adults and 79 unaccompanied minors.

Miami Valley Housing Opportunities has worked with the city of Kettering multiple times, Robinson said, and the housing initiative will help individuals find permanent residences when they normally would be on the streets or in a shelter.

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