Future looks bright for 152 residents at Cincinnati’s historic Anna Louise Inn

Cincinnati Union Bethel recently announced an award of tax credits for a $12.4 million renovation of the Anna Louise Inn (map) in downtown Cincinnati. The Inn, whose role is to provide affordable housing for women, secured the top ranking in a competitive Permanent Supportive Housing category from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.

Since 1994, the Inn has provided traditional housing for homeless families and children, and since 2006 they have provided housing and services for women in recovery from prostitution. Half of those living in the Inn have resided there for over a year, some for up to 30 years.

After the renovation is complete, the residential capacity will be lower; however, the new units will be larger and equipped with private bathrooms and kitchens. Officials emphasize that the general mission of the Inn will not change, although there will be an increased focus on permanent supportive housing.

“There will be a slight decrease in the number of units due to the upgrades, but our goal is to preserve the safe and affordable housing needed for women today,” project manager Mary Carol Melton explained to UrbanCincy in August 2010.  “We’re going to work with residents during the renovation to make this as least disruptive as possible, and we are currently looking at a phased renovation process to be able to do just that.”

Staff says that it is the hope that the creation of a more permanent and supportive environment will help the residents become more stable long-term.

“These more stable and long-term residents will have an opportunity to live in housing that will provide them with the dignity they deserve,” said Steve MacConnel, CEO of Cincinnati Union Bethel. “Additionally, this fits in with the city’s Homeless to Homes plan…it is just one more piece of a city-wide plan to provide more supportive housing.”

Construction for the renovation is scheduled to last from summer 2011 to fall 2012, and the development team will consist of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing along with Cincinnati Union Bethel. When completed, the historic Inn will have a 152-person capacity.