The Franklin County Board of Commissioners offered financial support for a National Church Residences (NCR) project that rehabilitates more than 100 apartments for low-income senior citizens.
On Oct. 25 the commissioners awarded a $250,000 loan toward the $11.8 million redevelopment project at the Lincoln Gardens senior housing community in Prairie Township.
The $250,000 loan came from an annual disbursement of Housing and Urban Development funding.
“We do this in other areas of the county and partner with NCR and other groups so that we can get the biggest bang for the buck,” said Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Board of Commissioners president.
Sherri Mixter, NCR director of marketing and communications, said the property has been redeveloped to serve “low and very-low income” seniors age 55 and older.
Patrick Higgins, NCR vice president of communications, said Lincoln Gardens was constructed in 1960.
“They are income qualified,” he said. “There is a crying need for that all over the country. The nation’s affordable housing stock is shrinking. NCR is in the business of preserving the nation’s supply and expanding it as well.”
Brown said a number of the units meet rehabilitation standards for residents with mobility challenges, which was important to the commissioners.
“As they get renovated the units have accessibility measures included which is really an important measure for the county,” she said.
All of the units have grab bars. Of the 100 units, 15 have been made handicap accessible.
The light switches will be easy to use, the heights of the cabinets are lower and the door frames will be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, Brown said. The units are more energy efficient, which results in lower heating and air conditioning bills.
“They will have new flooring and carpeting, upgraded bathrooms and updates to the exterior of the building to make it easier for people to get in and out if they are in wheelchairs or using canes,” Brown said.
The renovation will result in 60 one-bedroom units and 44 two-bedroom units for a total of 104 units.
“A significant amount of common space has been added to the building to provide services to the residents,” Mixter said. “All the units have been designed to allow seniors to age in place and receive healthcare services in their homes and avoid premature institutionalization.”
The Lincoln Gardens renovation is expected to be complete by the end of December, Mixter said. The reconstruction started more than a year ago and completed in several stages.
Financing for the project came from a variety of sources including $4.2 million from the sale of limited partnership interest and low-income housing tax credits, a $1.5 million permanent mortgage, $350,000 in acquired reserves and $3.5 million in tax credit exchange funds from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
“Our money gets leveraged with other funds,” Brown said. “It is always better when we can leverage funds coming from elsewhere.”