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'Affordable' housing complex to target service workers

Organizers say their goals are to widen access to housing and foster diversity and inclusion in the Central Business District.
Barrister Apartments.jpg
Posted at 1:58 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 22:32:47-05

CINCINNATI — An affordable housing project being developed in downtown Cincinnati could transform the lives of service workers in the area.

The Barrister Apartments on Ninth Street will hold 44 units of studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. The effort is a collaboration between developers Urban Sites and Over-the-Rhine Community Housing.

Angela Scott, who works nearby, said more affordable housing is exactly what the Central Business District needs.

“It's really a struggle to get back in the affordable housing that we do have down here," Scott said. "Most of it is being torn down.”

Officials from Urban Sites and OTRCH said part of their objective is to provide units to service workers that are close to their jobs , thereby sparing them the expense and tedium of commuting from other neighborhoods.

“The unit on Ninth Street would make it so convenient,” Scott said.

Scott recently had to move out of her house in Colerain Township because her commute to work at the Kroger on Court Street was too much of a hassle. She now stays in the West End and is actively hunting for affordable housing. News of the new development was music to her ears.

“I won’t even have to worry about busing,” Scott said. “I could actually walk or get a bike.”

To be eligible, households have to make 60% of the area median income or less.

“For years, the Central Business District has been a neighborhood designated by HOME, Housing Opportunities Made Equal - as an integrated neighborhood,” said Mary B. Rivers, the executive director of Over-The-Rhine Community Housing. “But over the last two decades, we’ve lost a lot of that diversity in the neighborhood. This will be the first step into getting that back.”

The cost of the project is $14.2 million; the city recently gave the project $900,000 in TIF (Tax Increment Financing) funds. Urban Sites says it hopes to start construction next year in June to then finish in the fall of 2023.

Monique John covers gentrification for WCPO 9. She is part of our Report For America donor-supported journalism program. Read more about RFA here.

If there are stories about gentrification in the Greater Cincinnati area that you think we should cover, let us know. Send us your tips at moveupcincinnati@wcpo.com.