We’ve expanded to offer permanent housing

Next-step and permanent housing options are limited for homeless women with children. This shortage has meant that our guests experience detrimental effects on family stability and children’s health and educational outcomes if they are unable to secure stable housing after their stay at Lydia’s House. A LISC study, “Housing Affordability in Hamilton County” reports: “For every 100 of the lowest income households, there are only 28 units affordable and available. This equates to a gap of 40,000 units for those making $14,678 or less (30% of Hamilton County’s median income).” Current housing options after a stay at Lydia’s House shelter may include returning to unsafe housing or neighborhood where no walkable assets leave car-less families stranded.

Lydia’s House guests have expressed a desire to stay in Norwood and continue in relationship with the Lydia’s House community, while living independently in their own apartments. Because many grew up in foster care or abusive homes, they have little or no support with care for their children. 70% of women return for meals, events, to do laundry, for case management, or for emergency cash assistance or food.

As a result of this growing after care program, combined with the regional housing crisis for low-income families, Lydia’s House discerned in November 2016 a need to move into next step/ permanent housing for exiting guests.

In 2019 we opened Virginia Coffey Place, 8 units of housing

We’re providing supportive housing for Lydia’s House families with rents affordable to those earning 30% area median income. Rents are subsidized through maintaining very low debt on the building, cross subsidization of units (some families are eligible for section 8 vouchers),  rental assistance as needed from the Lydia’s House budget, and innovative utility arrangements including solar.

This project has on-site support services, a 3-6 preschool on the first floor, an adjacent nature playspace, and programming for families.

And Finally

In the coming years  Lydia’s House plans to expand housing in Norwood to a total of 16 units by 2024, allowing for a constant stream of graduates to enter 4502 Carter, and those exiting 4502 Carter to move into single family homes or duplexes scattered throughout the neighborhood. In addition to self owned units,  Lydia’s House is also working with local landlords to create landlord partnerships, expanding the affordability footprint in Norwood even further.

If you’re interested in donating to future affordable projects or becoming a landlord partner please contact maryellen@stlydiashouse.org