City invests in housing for at-risk youth

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Finance Fund is planning a new development that aims to meet the needs of Columbus’ homeless youth with two former motels in Franklinton transformed into a campus-like setting.

The project will primarily support youth ages 18-24 who are homeless or have aged out of the foster care system, and have no place to call home. Located at the site of the former Knights Inn and Motel 6, at 1551 W. Broad St., the $4.5 million development will consist of 80 efficiency apartments.

“Eliminating blight through nuisance abatement not only provides an opportunity for redevelopment but an opportunity to provide our at-risk youth with a fresh start at life,” said Columbus City councilwoman Shayla Favor. “What was a vacant and abandoned building will now be a source of pride for our community as we provide our youth with housing, healthcare and counseling services.”

The city of Columbus will contribute $1.6 million to the project through funds that were allocated to support the work of the Affordable Housing Alliance in 2017. The goal of the development is to create a community within a community. Project partner, Star House, will help connect residents with employment, education, transportation, health care, therapy, mentors and more. The campus will be designed to create a sense of community. There will be front porches, indoor and outdoor community spaces, a community garden and each building will have a different theme.

“As we move forward with plans for affordable housing, we need to ensure that we address the needs of all of our residents,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “This project helps one of our most vulnerable populations transition to stable housing and help them develop the skills and confidence they need to live successfully on their own.”

Other details of the development include:
• Rents at or below fair market value
• Seven buildings on four acres
• Fully equipped kitchenette, bath and sleeping/living space
• Common areas
• Healthcare offices
• Counseling services

Employment opportunities will be offered by Stauf’s Coffee Roasters and other local businesses. The campus is located on a bus line and transportation will be available with a 14-passenger van donated by COSI.

The development will be named “Carol Stewart Village,” in honor of long-time Franklinton resident and advocate Carol Stewart, who died in 2012. Stewart was one of the founding members of the Franklinton Area Commission.

“Finance Fund is thrilled to play a real estate development role in the revitalization of Franklinton, particularly on a project so critical to the success of the community’s at-risk youth. We look forward to partnering with local leaders to support the future tenants of Carol Stewart Village,” said Finance Fund President Diana Turoff.

Residents are expected to move on campus at the end of the year.

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