Fairfax Intergenerational Housing
Developer: Western Reserve Revitalization & Management Company and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation
Owner: Fairfax Intergenerational Housing LP
The winners of the 2014 LIHTC Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact Award are Western Reserve Revitalization & Management Company and Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, for their development of Fairfax Intergenerational Housing (FIH) in Cleveland. The developers leveraged $4.5 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) to create affordable and specialized housing for intergenerational households, which consists of people 55 and older who have legal custody of their grandchildren. Donovan Duncan, director of real estate and development at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the management agent for the development, says FIH is the first of its kind in Cleveland and one of six developments in the country that serve intergenerational families.
Duncan says the development of FIH will particularly benefit intergenerational families in Cuyahoga County. Financing partners say nearly one-third of the 13,000 intergenerational families in Cuyahoga live below the poverty line. Many households face poverty because of the complex nature of intergenerational families, which are often formed as a result of emergency situations such as parental substance abuse, incarceration, debilitating health issues, death, military deployment or poverty. Intergenerational families also face limited housing options because many senior-designated buildings do not allow grandchildren as residents. By offering 40 affordable townhomes, FIH will help address the housing needs of this population.
Fernando Bonilla, whose design of FIH was the result of a national design competition, designed the townhomes of FIH to face a shared courtyard to promote interaction and the feeling of inclusiveness. Bonilla envisioned a safe and supportive community and designed FIH with child-friendly outdoor space, indoor spaces that addressed senior accessibility needs and a community center that provides social services. The community center at FIH also offers grandparents the opportunities to interact with and learn from other grandparents who are in similar situations. Residents are within walking distance of commercial and retail developments, the cultural hub of Cleveland, several major medical centers and local schools.
FIH is also a winner of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials 2014 Agency Awards of Merit.
“The creation of this community that provides for a family system that is more common in today's culture and which enables children to grow up in a community where their nuclear family is ‘normal’ within their home environment is a tremendous accomplishment by the development team,” said Phillip Melton, a 2014 Community Development Awards judge.