When YWCA Dayton constructed its flagship building in 1913, the world was a different place. Young women were flocking to urban areas for jobs as secretaries or housekeepers, but they often couldn’t own or lease property. That’s why the ‘YW’ created a kind of boarding house that provided them with a secure, if cramped, home: 150-square-foot rooms with cinder block walls and communal kitchens and bathrooms.
That just doesn’t work for 2018. Today, YWCA Dayton provides the only domestic violence shelter in Montgomery County. It also provides transitional housing for women learning to live independently after they escape their abuser. Women and children receive a range of preventative services and clinical treatment, often while living on-site for months or years.
“What we know today about services for women and children coming out of trauma and crisis looks a lot different than what we knew back then,” said Audrey Starr, YWCA Dayton’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Our motivation behind our current renovation is to give the best quality of care to these women.”
A gut rehab of the seven-story, 118,000-square-foot building began this year with blended funding from historic tax credits, New Markets Tax Credits, supportive housing vouchers, and a capital campaign. As part of IFF’s special lending partnership with Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF), IFF approved a $1.6 million loan to bridge committed capital campaign funds and allow construction to begin. Because some capital campaign dollars were received sooner than anticipated, YWCA Dayton ended up borrowing only $500,000 from IFF/CDF.
“This is a phased construction project with a complex capital stack,” said Bryan Kieler, IFF’s Director of Lending in Ohio. “Before you start construction, you need to show that you have every dollar needed to pay for the project. That’s why it was important for IFF and CDF to approve the larger loan, even though fortunately the YWCA Dayton received other funding and was able to borrow less.”
This was IFF’s first loan in the City of Dayton, where we also closed on two other loans in 2017: (1) $43,300 to The Dakota Center Inc., a six-decade-old community engagement group, made in partnership with CDF and Commons Energy; and (2) $1.5 million to DECA Prep, a high-performing charter school serving grades K-8, made in partnership with CDF.
The YWCA structure has not been significantly renovated since the late 1950s. Big changes include creating more family-style living on the shelter side, as well as private studio or one-bedroom apartments on the housing side. In other words – no more communal bathrooms and kitchens.
“By virtue of going down to the studs on all of our core program floors, we are able to maximize the square footage in a completely different way – we’ll actually have fewer rooms, but be able to serve more people,” Starr said. “The shelter spaces will be both larger as well as more flexible for larger families. It’s not uncommon to have sisters or cousins who have the same abuser come to the shelter together; we’ll be able to provide them with their own individual dignity and privacy but also with connectors so they can begin to heal together.”
Renovations are expected to be completed in early 2020.