GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners and Gallia County Children’s Services discussed Thursday turning the old Gallia County Children’s Home into affordable housing units.
Since 2002, the building which housed both the children’s services and home sits now as only the children’s services office. According to Gallia County Children’s Services Executive Director Russ Moore, the children’s services office is currently looking for a way to make use of the available space that sits unused in the building. The proposed solution is to turn the remaining rooms not used as office space into affordable housing units. Affordable housing is categorized by a household income status determined often by state and federal standards.
Gallia County Children’s Services has proposed partnering with Integrated Services of Appalachian Ohio, based out of Athens, and Fairfield Housing, based out of Lancaster.
“The idea that we have in mind is to attract affordable housing tax credits and considerable investment through the tax credit program for affordable housing for families. This includes a portion of (units) that would be (for) permanent supportive housing. This is a kind of housing for families who have health and behavioral health needs beyond which are typical in the general population,” Kevin Gillespie, Integrated Services representative, said. “We’d like to develop some garden style apartments that are pretty different from any kind of affordable housing that’s probably been seen in Gallia County.”
Jennifer Walters, president of Fairfield Housing, a property management and real estate development agency, proposed helping handle the legal and construction aspects with the potential renovation of the building in question.
“The tax credit program is an affordable housing program that started in 1986 under Ronald Reagan. Basically, Section 8 HUD doesn’t exist anymore. It exists but there are no more houses under that program coming. This is a program to provide housing in an affordable way to people at a low and reduced rent. It’s a federal program run state-by-state. So, the Ohio Financing Agency runs the program. Developers and housing teams put applications together for what they think is the best housing model project and what fits the most needs,” Walters said.
Gallia County Commissioners stated they had some concern with how the legal aspects of the proposed deal would work with children’s services still being present in the building alongside tenants.
Integrated Services would be supposedly be present in the facility to help remedy behavioral and support services for families living there whereas Fairfield Housing would handle the property management aspects of the location.
Commissioners felt it prudent to keep the deed of the property for future necessity but gave Moore the “go-ahead” to explore the proposed plan and see what may come from it.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.