Low-income apartments for homeless planned in Kettering

A nonprofit has broken ground in Kettering on a low-income housing development for the homeless — 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. A three-story, 40-unit apartment building — covering about 39,852 square feet — will open next summer, according to Debbie Watts Robinson, chief executive officer of MVHO.

“We have done some of the preliminary work,” Robinson said. “We’re excited about the site, and its proximity to various amenities like the library.”

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This fall, construction crews bulldozed the former Red Lobster building on the property. Now crews are preparing the space for a new building.

The development will provide permanent, supportive housing for males and females who have been homeless and are staying in Montgomery County shelters. The apartments will be one-bedroom units with a kitchen and bathroom, encompassing about 700 square feet each. The building will include some common areas.

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

Terry Welker, chief building official for the city of Kettering, said the apartment complex will be a full brick structure, built with sustainable, environmentally friendly features.

“It’s on a very visible street, and right on a major bus line,” he said.

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According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, supportive housing combines affordable housing assistance with supportive services for homeless people, and other people with disabilities. Research shows this type of housing is not only cost effective, but also helps people who have been chronically homeless.

Housing is kept affordable by offering a subsidy or setting low rent amounts.

The housing effort will include an investment of about $6 million, according to Robinson.

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.

Robinson said tenants will apply through Montgomery County services 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.

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Five Rivers also runs the Samaritan Homeless Clinic at 921 S. Edwin C. Moses Blvd., which offers medical care, dental services, psychiatric and mental health counseling, chemical dependency counseling, and other case management aid.

Gina McFarlane-El, chief executive officer of Five Rivers, said the two exam rooms will be staffed with either a doctor, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant. The in-house treatment includes assessing acute issues, blood pressure checks, and preventative tests for issues like diabetes.

According to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, there has been a 17 percent decline in homelessness in the state since 2010. Locally, the Montgomery County Human Services Planning & Development Department has a 10-year plan to produce 750 units of permanent supportive housing, such as the Key Terrace development.

County data show chronic homelessness declined 79 percent from 2006 to 2015.

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

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According to city documents, Oberer Land Developers and Oberer Thompson Company are working on the project. Near the future domplex on Wilmington Pike sits several small businesses, fast food restaurants and commercial spaces.

Dan Thomas is the branch manager for Culligan Water, which is next to the site. He said he had not heard much about the project from city officials, but was told about the apartments by workers on site.

“I wouldn’t be concerned with that,” Thomas said.

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.

“It’s going to be a very attractive structure,” Robinson said.

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