FOSTORIA - Six people served by Seneca County Opportunity Center are to have new homes, thanks to a partnership with the center and WSOS Community Action Commission Inc.
WSOS has presented a key of ownership of homes at 716 and 720 Spruce St. to the center as part of Fostoria Neighborhood Stabilization Project.
Lewis Hurst, superintendent of Seneca County Opportunity Center, said a neighborhood stabilization project tries to renovate older properties that were falling down or abandoned in the community.
"WSOS, as the housing authority for the county, located two properties on Spruce Street," he said.
Hurst said the two lots next to the properties were empty, so WSOS purchased the four lots and combined them into two. The agency then built two new homes and are giving them to Northland Homes, a non-profit housing group, to manage.
Northland Homes is Seneca County Opportunity Center's non-profit housing corporation and is made up of board members from Crawford, Marion and Seneca counties.
"They manage the properties for us," he said.
Hurst said officials are going to use the properties to house people with disabilities so they will have affordable homes. Architects designed the beautiful homes to be accessible, he said.
Hurst said six people representing a variety of ages will live in the homes and pay rent. Some have been commuting from the Tiffin area and will be closer to work at Seneca Re-Ad Industries Inc., he said.
Seneca Re-Ad is a way Seneca County Opportunity Center provides or ensures provision of employment experiences, according to the website for Seneca County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The residents will be moving into the properties in the next month, Hurst said.
"The property transfer should happen next week, I think," he said.
The six people now are in some of the center's capital housing homes, and Hurst said two of those properties probably will be sold. The homes no longer are accessible or are aging, he said.
"(People) live with support staff," he said.
Hurst said the project has created more accessible housing for people with disabilities. WSOS and Seneca County Opportunity Center are to go through the same process for a third house in Fostoria.
The collaboration is becoming a role model for the state. He said the two organizations started it, and Seneca County Opportunity Center, through its relationship with WSOS, has made connections with Putnam County, which also is to get a home.
"We really kind of led the state with it, which is neat," he said.
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