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Butler County is getting more accessible housing for people with disabilities

Nine people in hardhats use shovels to turn over dirt in a ceremonial ground breaking
Tana Weingartner
This lot in Middletown will soon be home to four apartments designed to be affordable and accessible for people with developmental disabilities.

Organizations that assist people with developmental disabilities broke ground Wednesday on two new housing complexes in Butler County. Two, four-unit apartment buildings are being constructed — one in Middletown and the other in Trenton.

The apartments are designed to be affordable and accessible for people living with developmental disabilities, according to Gina Gehm, CEO of Partnerships for Housing and Inclusive Housing Resources.

"Affordable housing has already been in need for quite a while in our communities here in southwestern Ohio, but now with the rental increases that we've seen over the last year — where the Southwest Ohio region is the ninth highest year over year rental increase in the nation — it's really important that we create opportunities for individuals on low and fixed incomes, especially those with disabilities who also need to find a home that is accessible to them," says Gehm.

Each of the eight units will offer full mobility accessibility, including features like extra-large roll-in showers and in-unit laundry hookups. Both complexes are being built in neighborhoods that are close to public transportation and other services and amenities that can be difficult for people with disabilities to access.

Gehm notes finding housing is hard enough, but when coupled with restricted incomes and the need for accessibility modifications, it's even more difficult to find somewhere to live.

"Their incomes tend to be well below area median income so affordable housing options are few and far between for them," she points out. "On top of that, some individuals also need accessibility features that are often not very available in the private market. Lastly, some individuals need other accommodations to successfully live in an apartment community, and as a landlord that specializes in this population, we're able to make those accommodations a lot easier than someone in the private market who may not be aware of how those pieces work together."

Gehm expects the units will be ready in about 18 months. The Butler County Board of Developmental Disabilities will work with potential tenants to fill the units.

Inclusive Housing Resources supports about 400 people, Gehm says, across 120 sites in Butler, Clermont and Hamilton counties.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.