By Jordan Puckett
Clermont County Senior Services has built a new senior housing facility in Batavia. The new facility, called Dimmitt Woods Senior Housing, was named after founder of Batavia, Ezekiel Dimmitt. The new building is located where his original homestead once stood.
The new facility is Clermont County’s seventh housing project for low-income seniors. The facility was designed for seniors still able to care for themselves. There are 40 single bedroom units in the new complex. With the addition of this seventh housing facility, there are now 264 total units in Clermont County.
“There are 207 on the waiting list for these units,” said Cindy Jenkins Gramke, executive director and CEO of Clermont County Senior Services. “The waiting list really reflects the need for this housing.”
The project was funded by Section 202 of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before construction began, the federal government voted to suspend funding for HUD 202 while establishing the federal budget for 2012. The program can not fund any new projects.
“I want to stress that no levy dollars were used to build these units,” Gramke said. “Levy dollars are to serve the people, not build housing.”
As for the HUD 202 program, Gramke is hopeful that the government will realize its worth and refund it.
“It’s important for seniors to have the opportunity to live in safe, affordable housing,” she said. “We will continue to advocate for the program. HUD 202 has been a very successful program.”
Construction on the project began in spring of 2012 and was completed spring 2013. As of now, 30 of the units have already been filled. The remaining 10 will be filled by mid June.
Each of the county’s seven facilities include an onsite manager, secured entry doors, emergency pull cords, smoke detectors, elevators, individually controlled heating and cooling systems, coin operated laundry, community rooms, outdoor patios, and are wheelchair accessible.
“I feel very secure here,” said current resident Bertha Sullivan. “It’s quiet and open. We get fresh air here.”
“I was inactive before I came here,” said resident Carolyn Wood. “I need to be more active, and I think I’ll be able to do that here.”
The residents were also impressed with the walking trail that wraps around the building and passes the two ponds. They expressed excitement about seeing deer and other wildlife around the building.
“It’s like living in the country,” Sullivan said. “It’s great.”
To be accepted for the housing, applicants must be at least 62 years of age with an annual income less than $24,050 or less than $27,500 for two people. Residents pay 30% of their annual income. All utilities are included except cable television and telephone.
“We’re very excited about this project,” Gramke said. “These things take a long time to complete, and we’re very excited to see it come to completion.”
The date for the ribbon-cutting has not yet been finalized. It will take place sometime in July.