Transitional housing for abuse survivors planned for Athens

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ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — New housing and support services in Athens for people impacted by crisis and trauma is one step closer to reality.

The Athens Board of Zoning Appeals approved a request last week to allow a former orthodontist’s office at 485 Richland Ave. to be converted into transitional housing.

A one-story commercial building on Richland Avenue that will be converted to housing for New Leaf.
Athens is one of several locations in southeast Ohio in which SAOP is building New Leaf communities. [Lucy Schaefer | WOUB]
The planned housing is an extension of the Survivors Advocacy Outreach Program’s New Leaf Project. It will also provide services including counseling and workforce development and financial empowerment training.

SAOP Executive Director Jen Seifert said the project will give survivors work and life skills and benefit the community.

“We either invest in programs that reduce barriers for folks or we’re paying for it in criminal justice charges and in health care,” Seifert said.

SAOP also wants to build a coffee shop near the site which could be the first 3D printed structure in Ohio.

The coffee shop would provide workforce training and employment to New Leaf residents.

The state still needs to approve those plans.