NEST, Pennrose Break Ground on LGBTQ-Friendly Affordable Seniors Housing in Cincinnati

by Jeff Shaw

CINCINNATI — Northsiders Engaged in Sustainable Transformation (NEST) and Pennrose have broken ground on John Arthur Flats, Cincinnati’s first LGBTQ-friendly affordable senior housing community.

Located in the city’s Northside neighborhood, the new development includes 57 affordable apartments and on-site supportive services. The community is slated for completion in the summer of 2022.

The three-story, elevator-serviced building will include a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments for seniors earning 30 percent to 60 percent of the area median income (AMI). The community is located near the Northside business district, McKie Recreation Center and many other nearby amenities.

“The John Arthur Flats groundbreaking brings Northside one step closer to providing high-quality, secure, affordable housing to our neighbors in the LGBTQ+ and aging populations,” says Sarah Thomas, executive director with NEST. “Northside has always been a diverse, welcoming community and we look forward to growing our neighborhood by providing affordable housing, social services and the opportunity to remember cornerstone community members within this project.”

On-site supportive services will be provided by Council on Aging of Southwestern Ohio, Pennrose Management Co., CAIN (Churches Active in Northside) and Caracole, the Greater Cincinnati region’s nonprofit AIDS Service Organization.

“Today marks the first step in transforming a formerly vacant, underutilized site into a vibrant community asset,” says Timothy Henkel, principal and senior vice president at Pennrose. “LGBTQ older adults experience higher rates of poverty and housing discrimination, and innovative housing solutions like John Arthur Flats create an inclusive, safe and welcoming environment for seniors to age in place comfortably. We hope this development serves as an example in neighborhoods throughout Ohio and the country.”

The development commemorates local history and is named in recognition of the late John Montgomery Arthur, a Cincinnati native and husband of the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in the United States. In addition, the new community space honors Maureen Wood. Before her passing, Maureen was a long time Northsider, LGBTQ neighborhood pioneer, Crazy Ladies Bookstore owner, and was known for teaching home-repair and improvement classes to single women and mothers.

This $13M redevelopment is financed with an award of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, equity syndicated by CREA, HOME funding from the City of Cincinnati, an award from the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and debt underwritten by Fifth Third Bank.

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