The general public will be able to see inside the YWCA of Hamilton’s new $11 million building on Grand Boulevard on Friday, which Executive Director Wendy Waters-Connell calls “a transformational moment.”
The day before, on Thursday, the YWCA will have a mid-morning ribbon cutting of the building and a private reception later in the day for private donors and supporters that helped to make the 60-room facility happen.
“We want to show deep respect for those who wrapped their arms around us when we started talking about this project in 2019,” said Waters-Connell. “Without the support of the Butler County commissioners, without the support of the city of Hamilton, without the support of state agencies, like the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Recovery Services, none of this would have been possible.”
Day 1 for the new YWCA of Hamilton building at 1570 Grand Boulevard is Dec. 5, but it will take a few weeks to move the administrative offices, the 31 families who are already in the agency’s permanent supportive housing (PSH) units, and those who are in the domestic violence shelter.
Though 31 families will be moving in, all 45 PSH units will be occupied on day one, and there is a 100-plus family waiting list. There are 15 fully furnished apartments on the emergency domestic violence shelter floor, where families will stay between 30 and 90 days, and Waters-Connell said, “we’ll move them on from there to find them permanent, safe housing.”
While the building is more than what they currently have at 244 Dayton St., it’s still not enough. Waters-Connell said if resources were not a barrier, they’d build more facilities for families fleeing domestic violence, which was a pain point for the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“And it continues to be a pain point, meaning we struggle to find safe, affordable housing for those families who are fleeing domestic violence,” she said.
In 2010, the Ohio Interagency Council on Homeless and Affordable Housing adopted a goal to create thousands of new PSH opportunities to help address high-priority permanent housing and supportive services needs of the most vulnerable households with serious and long-term disabilities.
“These new PSH opportunities are essential for Ohio to address homelessness and chronic homelessness among Ohioans with disabilities,” according to the state. The objective is to reduce “Ohio’s reliance on expensive and unnecessary institutional settings.”
The PSH portion of the YWCA’s building is being paid through public funds, including the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, Butler County’s and Hamilton’s Community Development Block Grant programs, and an Affordable Housing Program grant.
The domestic violence support portion of the building, however, was funded privately through a capital campaign. Waters-Connell said the domestic violence shelter “would absolutely not have happened without private donors and private foundations and private grants.”
The public tour on Friday will first show the domestic violence shelter, which includes the main entrance where survivors are greeted by advocates before being placed in the emergency shelter. The tour will continue through the rest of the building, including the administrative area and unoccupied PSH apartments.
The YWCA’s plan for its current building plans on Dayton Street is to sell it. The YWCA board will seek an updated appraisal once it is vacated next month. The agency will work with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and hope to sell it to someone “for its best and most appropriate use for our community,” Waters-Connell said.
Proceeds from the sale will go to sustaining the YWCA’s mission.
SEE THE NEW YWCA BUILDING
YWCA of Hamilton is offering the public tours of the new facility from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday.