Earlier this past year, Earl Hayden purchased and arranged for the clearing of several small lots at the corner of Walnut and Fifth streets, across from the Daniel Pitino Shelter.
According to Pitino Shelter founder and board chairman Father Ed Bradley, the condemned properties that once stood on that corner were “drug-infested” and posed a danger to the children and community.
“It’s good to have them gone,” Fr. Bradley said. “It’s a great turn around for that corner, to know that something beautiful will go there that will help a lot of people.”
The Pitino Shelter was notified this week that a $600,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant was approved by the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Cincinnati. This grant, along with another approved by a bank in Henderson, will allow the shelter to move forward with the construction of the Nicky Hayden Apartments to be located across from the shelter. According to Pitino Shelter Executive Director Thad Gunderson, the total estimated cost for development is $1.5 million.
Wabuck Development Company, Inc., the same company who established Owensboro’s Presidents Place, is responsible for the renderings of the complex as well as the grant writing. Known for creating affordable housing for non-profit organizations while preventing them from incurring large amounts of debt, Wabuck is looking forward to moving forward with the build now that funding has been approved.
The 12-unit apartment complex will provide “rapid re-housing” for individuals and families staying at the shelter. The goal of rapid re-housing is to assist people in obtaining housing quickly without the pre-conditions that can often be required such as employment history, income and criminal record. Gunderson said the Pitino Shelter plans to continue offering residents support from a case manager, access to food and pantry items and ongoing accountability with a staff member who can assist them in continuing to make “healthy choices.”
With the Neblett Center and bus stop located nearby, both Gunderson and Fr. Bradley are looking forward to what the apartment complex will be able to offer to those who are referred to the shelter, especially single-parent families.
“It will be so much better to put them in an apartment where they have an address,” Fr. Bradley said. “The stigma of being in a shelter is really difficult for our kids when they go to school. This will really allow us to help our kids in a much better way.”
Pitino Shelter board member Tom Lilly said the apartment complex was aptly named after the late MotoGP World Champion, as the shelter, and the children, were dear to Hayden’s heart.
“The children of the Pitino Shelter held a special place in Nicky’s heart. You saw him light up when he hand-delivered bikes to our residents,” Lilly said. “He spent a lot of time with our children, and it’s only fitting that these new facilities are named in his honor.”
Now that the funding has come through, Gunderson said construction can move forward as originally planned.
“As soon as it warms up in the spring, we will break ground,” he said. “We hope to have them done and housed in fall of 2019.”
While Gunderson is thankful for the grant approval, he is most thankful for the generous donation of land and time by Earl Hayden and his family.
“They [the banks] saw that as us putting in time and money,” Gunderson said. “Without the Haydens getting the ball rolling at getting us that property for free…we wouldn’t have gotten the grants.”