COLLEGE HILL, Ohio (WKRC) – The excavation began in earnest Thursday and Friday along Piqua Avenue in College Hill on new affordable housing. But these new homes being built there or in South Cumminsville will have an energy-efficient twist.
They allow owners to have either minimal or zero utility bills and may even produce more energy than they consume. Solar panels help provide electricity, while other utilities, such as furnaces and hot water heaters, use green energy technology.
The homes themselves are so tightly insulated they don't need much heat or air.
"Realistically, what we're trying to do is be able to get our families that we work with to be able to afford to continue to purchase a house," said Sr. Barbara Busch, executive director of Working In Neighborhoods, the nonprofit agency and development corporation building the new homes. "As long as the city doesn't change it, they will also get a tax abatement for 15 years."
Local 12 interviewed Busch about her role as part of our investigation into redlining, the historic practice of keeping minorities from buying homes in some areas, and those trying to reverse the effects of those racist policies.
Busch says the new houses will be installed soon in almost one piece as what's called uni-built construction. She says it takes about two months from initial groundbreaking to being move-in ready.
Busch remembers when another similar house was erected in one day just across the street from the current site.
"What was fun is some of our children were going to school and they stopped in the morning and they came back after school and said, ‘That house wasn't here,’” Busch said with a laugh. “It is a renovation of this part of the community, which we believe is extraordinarily helpful for the neighborhood."
Working in Neighborhoods has built about 20 homes in College Hill and 120 units throughout the area.