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Agency breaks ground on $5.5M development


More housing will soon be available for those who’ve struggled the most with having a place to call home.

Tuesday marked the groundbreaking of the new $5.5 million Mulberry Terrace development. The 36-unit complex will offer affordable housing in addition to physical and behavioral health services to individuals and families facing homelessness, said Elaina Bradley, executive director of Interfaith Hospitality Network, which will oversee the housing development.

“This will ensure that individuals that have experienced homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless can move into safe, affordable housing and then be able to sustain that housing by being provided those supplemental services,” she said.

The need for housing for the homeless has increased by about one-third in Clark County since 2009. Back then, 523 women, men and families were placed in various Interfaith Hospitality shelters, compared to 795 last year.

These permanent housing units will help that need while also developing a site on Center and Mulberry streets that currently contains a vacant warehouse, Bradley said.

Getting financing for the project was no small task. Investments from Huntington Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati helped make it happen, said Beth Long, development analyst with Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, based in Columbus.

“They’ve been doing some planning and research probably for the last 10 years trying to identify the need and come up with a concept that would really work well for this community,” Long said.

Construction should be complete and the complex should be open by the end of January 2013. Applications for the housing will be accepted about midsummer, Bradley said, and she hopes to move some families into the units this year.

The development will be filled through Springfield Metropolitan Housing Authority’s new project-based voucher program. Renters will pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities each month, and the voucher will pay for the rest. For most situations that means little to no payment for those who are homeless or may be facing homelessness, said SMHA Director of Assisted Housing Sherry Fleming.

Staff Writer Michael Cooper contributed to this report.



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