Monday, January 22, 2001

$20,000 to expand Warren housing

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer


        LEBANON — Balanced Housing, a fledgling nonprofit that's trying to increase affordable housing in fast-growing Warren County, received a $20,000 vote of confidence last week.

        Balanced Housing has joined 28 other agencies in receiving an annual allocation from Warren County United Way.

        The 2000 fund drive raised a record $2,072,550, a 10 percent increase over 1999, which increased allocations 7 percent.

        Balanced Housing's share will go toward grant-writing and other efforts to renovate and build housing, United Way officials said.

        A countywide assessment by United Way in 2000 found that a shortage of affordable housing — roughly in the range of $80,000 to $120,000 — is one of the top issues here.

        The average house in Warren sold for $171,000 in 1999, highest in the Tristate.

        “Warren County is a quickly growing county, but there isn't always a lot of housing for lower-income workers,” said John Smith, chairman of the United Way's Allocations Committee.

        In its two years of existence, Balanced Housing has survived on several small grants. With one part-time employee, Margie Clary, and loans for improvements, the program has renovated one house and almost finished a second.

        Balanced Housing could do more with more money for grant-writing, board member Charles Peckham of Lebanon said.

        “You have to get (grant applications) out there so you can get the money back,” Mr. Peckham said. “We can really get going if we get two or three good grants.”

        Among United Way's other allocations, Warren County Community Services received the largest share at $257,024.

        Community Services provides home-delivered meals, housing assistance and other services to elderly and low-income residents.


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