Housing Agency Breaks Ground On Low-Income Properties

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A group of senior citizens will be getting a new place to call home in The Plains.

The Three Rivers Housing Corporation is preparing to build an apartment complex on North Plains Road.

Six apartment units intended for senior citizens will be built this summer.

The project will cost nearly $600,000, but the rent for the properties will be kept low because of a grant from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

After living in West Virginia for over 40 years, Sharon Buchanan finally has the chance to come home.

Buchanan grew up in The Plains and now will have a new place to live through the Three Rivers Housing Corporation.

"This is the perfect spot and this is what I need. Close to grocery stores, close to transportation," said Buchanan.

The Three Rivers Housing Corporation has built or renovated nearly 100 houses and apartments in Athens, Meigs, Gallia, and Vinton counties in the last 20 years.

They've built homes for senior citizens, as well as low-income residents and first-time homeowners.

Executive Director Barbara Conover says these apartments, which will be built in the style of buildings in the New Orleans French Quarter, are designed specifically for those with mobility impairments.

"The units are all universally designed, which means they're easy for anyone to live in," said Conover. "They have zero step entrances, three-foot-wide doorways. If you're in a chair, it would be just as easy for you to live there as it would be for anyone who could walk."

Construction for the units is being funded by grants and loans from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and the Hocking Valley Bank.

"This is going to be six units of housing for seniors, that otherwise, probably would not be able to be in a house that would provide them the accessibliity that is provided because these are going to be flats," said Jim Evans, of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

For Buchanan, the new housing complex means she'll be able to move back home to be near her family.

"These are my people and this is where I want to be," she said. "A part of the community again after so many long years. It's just really great."

Conover says the rent for the units is dependent on income, but will be about $500 a month, including utilities.

She expects two of the units, including Sharon Buchanan's, to be ready by early fall, with the other four finished by the end of the year.