Sensible Shelter, Inc. Home Ownership Opportunities
In order to develop homeownership opportunities for its residents, Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority (GMHA) established a non-profit, Sensible Shelter, Inc., and it was incorporated in 1989. Sensible Shelter’s (SSI) mission is to develop affordable housing and promote homeownership and self-sufficiency for low and moderate-income families in Greene County. SSI has been used as the vehicle for developing innovative homeowner projects.
SSI began by developing five homes in Xenia through a partnership with the City of Xenia. SSI received a Community Development Block Grant and matched it with funds of GMHA as well as a small loan to finance the construction costs of the homes. The homes were then sold to five Public Housing residents through a land contract with a 5% interest rate. No down payment was required. At the end of the five years, the families got mortgages through financial institutions. The five-year land contract provided time for the families to develop a credit history and to accrue equity in the homes.
In 1990, Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority (GMHA) purchased 20.38 acres located at Lower Bellbrook Road and Colorado Drive, Xenia, Ohio with the intention to develop affordable housing for qualified low and moderate-income families.
Sensible Shelter, Inc., GMHA’s non-profit, completed Wise Manor in 1991 with funding through Housing Tax Credits, a Community Block Grant, and other grants. It consists of ten three-bedroom homes and eight two-bedroom townhouses. They are located on Colorado Drive, Pembury Drive, Dundee Drive, and Windsor Court. Families selected to live in these units had incomes at or below 60% of the area median income as required by the Housing Tax Credit program.
The ten single-family homes were lease-to-own and families living there purchased them in 2006. GMHA worked closely with the families to help them qualify for a mortgage. Prior to moving into the homes, families were provided classes through the Ohio State University Extension – Greene County and the Greene County Career Center. The classes focused on money management and maintenance of the homes. Prior to purchasing, families participated in the homebuyer education program through the Greene County Dept. of Development so they would be ready for homeownership.
Greene Metropolitan Housing Authority received an award from Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing for the Development and Management of Wise Manor in 2006.
In 2002, Sensible Shelter, Inc. applied for and received Housing Assistance Development Program funding for Wise Manor Section 2 consisting of eleven single-family homes. Funding provided approximately a $30,000 subsidy for each home. The homes were completed and sold to qualified buyers in 2004 and 2005.
Sensible Shelter received Housing Assistance Development Program (HDAP) funding through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to develop Wise Manor Section 3. Wise Manor Section 3 consisted of seven single-family homes with garages on Commonwealth Drive in Xenia. The homes were sold to eligible families whose income is between 50% and 80% of the area’s median income.
The seven homes in Wise Manor Section 3 consisted of three-bedroom homes and four-bedroom homes. Square footage ranged from 1200 to 1500. 100 percent of the homes had universal design features for families with a member that is mobility or sensory impaired.
All families that purchased a home were required to complete the Ohio State University’s Extension – Greene County’s Money Management classes. The families were also required to complete homebuyer education through the Greene County Dept. of Development or a similar program through the Ohio State University’s Extension Office-Greene County. The last two homes were sold in 2011.
SSI is currently looking at further development of the land near Wise Manor.