The General Franklin building was opened in 1901 to take care of older residents of the Dayton VA. CONTRIBUTED

Historic Dayton VA building to get $8M improvements

A historic building on the Dayton Veterans Administration Center campus will undergo an $8 million renovation.

The General Franklin building at 412 Iowa Street in Dayton will get a face-lift starting in January 2020. The renovation is expected to take 18 months.

The General Franklin building, which originally opened in 1901, houses disabled single adults who are experiencing homelessness. The facility gives a preference for veterans. Miami Valley Housing Opportunities (MVHO) manages and maintains the building.

“It’s always nice to have that kind of facility available for veterans when they need it,” said Debbie Robinson, CEO of MVHO.

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The VA owns the building, but the MVHO has a multi-year, enhance use lease.

“This is great because, without the VA having to invest funding, they are able to improve their facility,” Robinson said.

The building currently has 34 single units with a kitchenette in each. After the renovation it will have 38 units, each with a full kitchen that includes a stove and refrigerator. Additional improvements to the building will include new vinyl plank flooring, new windows, a new elevator and improved security features.

“This will be a much better situation,” Robinson said. “It will improve their quality of life.”

This project is not only improving the living space for the building’s residents, but it is also extending the useful life of the historic building, Robinson said. The last work on the General Franklin building was in 2004.

“The renovation of these units on the VA grounds will bring new life to the housing located at the site and extend the project’s ability to provide quality housing for vulnerable populations for years to come,” said Jessica Jenkins, assistant director of Human Services Planning and Development.

The MVHO used to have its offices in the General Franklin building. Since the MVHO moved into its current headquarters in 2012, that space has been empty, Robinson said. The old office space will be converted to housing in this renovation.

Oberer Residential Construction will do the renovation. The renovations will happen in phases so that no one is displaced, said Michael Zimmerman, the public information officer for the county’s Business Services.

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“This project is a model for demonstrating the impact of safe, stable affordable housing paired with supportive services as an effective intervention for addressing homelessness in our community. MVHO and its partners should be commended for their ability to leverage funding sources such as Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Federal Home Loan Bank and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care supportive services funding to bring this project to fruition,” said Jessica Jenkins, assistant director of Human Services Planning and Development for Montgomery County.

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners agreed to contribute $215,000 to the General Franklin project at its meeting this past week. The Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Federal Home Loan Bank and Ohio Capital Fund for Housing are also funding the project.

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