The Butler County commissioners are considering a request by the YWCA in Hamilton for $400,000 worth of federal HOME funds to purchase land for a new center. The commissioners are looking for the best way to increase the affordable housing stock in the county for residents in need. There are several projects under consideration.

YWCA wins key financing for new Hamilton campus, apartments

“That means we have a green light, and so we are moving forward with this project,” said Wendy Waters-Connell, YWCA Hamilton’s CEO.

Architectural plans still need to be completed.

“I hope to be breaking ground as soon after the new year, and it’ll take 18-20 months for the actual construction to be finished,” Waters-Connell said. “We’re hopeful that we’re going to open in 2022.”

The new complex, being co-developed with the Model Group, will include 45 apartments for people who are chronically homeless in Hamilton and Butler County.

The development will help YWCA Hamilton, which was founded in 1900, continue housing residents in need “by providing a safe, supportive living environment, along with comprehensive services that focus on providing trauma informed care,” the organization said in its announcement of the state decision. “Butler County is part of a region identified as having the highest need in the state for supportive housing.”

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Dan Bates, president and CEO of the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, called it “an amazing accomplishment.”

“I think this is a turning-point in their history, that when people talk about the YWCA decades from now, they’ll be talking about her (Waters-Connell’s) leadership and what it has done to completely change the future of the organization,” Bates said.

The YWCA won $1 million in housing tax credits, and $1.75 million in short-term, low-interest loans from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. It was a competitive process: Of $76.3 million in tax credits requested statewide, $31.7 million were granted. And of $106.6 million in loans sought, $48.1 million were reserved.

“The YWCA stands ready to expand, through a new building, to provide state-of-the-art accommodations for the individuals we serve,” Waters-Connell said. “These will all be one-bedroom, fully-equipped-kitchen apartments, and that’s what’s needed in the future for those who are chronically homeless and have disabilities.”

“And we will further be able to expand our domestic-violence services to survivors,” she said.

“This is a transformational moment for the YWCA mission, but more importantly, it’s a transformational moment for our county, and the people that we serve, by adding a brand-new building that will meet their needs.”

“Now that we have the grant officially awarded to us, we will go back and formally apply for those funds from those two entities,” Waters-Connell said.

The Y hopes to receive $400,000 from Butler County and $300,000 from Hamilton, from such sources as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, which are aimed at helping the poor, and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds, the federal money aimed at helping low-and very-low-income increase home ownership.

All YWCA programming except for the youth programming has been continuing during the coronavirus crisis in the Y’s existing building in downtown Hamilton, which has been in use since 1931.

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