Serve City to open 2nd complex

January 5, 2011

Development will have 25 apartments for low-income residents.

Journal News: By Hannah Poturalski, Staff Writer 3:00 AM Wednesday, January 5, 2011

HAMILTON - For troubled residents hoping to part with their substance abuses and start a home, one local social service agency is making it a lot easier.

Serve City, an outreach center on East Avenue, is preparing to open its second low-income housing complex in April. Shekinah Place, located at 522 East Ave., will have 25 studio apartments.

Serve City also opened Choices in August 2008 on Ninth Street, which offers low-income housing to around 40 people.

"Basically it's for people committed to living in a drug- and alcohol-free setting but have limited income," said Linda Kimble, executive director of Serve City.

Kimble said visitors to the Chosen homeless shelter do well with having a structured environment. She said oftentimes after leaving Chosen, the only affordable homes are in areas full of drugs, alcohol and prostitution.

"We don't want that thrown back in their face," Kimble said.

Kimble said the studio apartments, complete with kitchen and bathroom, will rent for $350 a month - utilities and cable included.

Those accepted to live in Shekinah Place - Hebrew for "dwelling place of the Lord" - have to adhere to pre-approved visitors only, monthly checks to make sure there are no unwanted substances, a curfew of around midnight, and an outside security system.

"Some people don't want those restrictions," Kimble said. "But it's putting them on a long-term, solid path.

"Funding for the project has come from Federal Home Loan Bank in Cincinnati, First Financial Bank in Hamilton and the city of Hamilton.

"We are proud to partner with Serve City once again to bring safe and affordable housing to Hamilton residents," said Margaret Baker, senior vice president at First Financial. "This is a great example of the entire community coming together to give our neighbors the opportunity to get back on their feet, improve their lives and achieve their goals.

"Bud Scharf, neighborhood development director for the city, said the project's $450,000 in HOME Investment funds will support 10 of the units.

Kimble said the search for prospective locations was limited to the fourth ward, as a way to help revitalize that area of town.

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