COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority and Columbus-based Beacon 360 Management, which are partnering on a housing project in Franklinton that will serve survivors of human trafficking, say the idea can be replicated throughout the region.

The 52 apartments in Harriet’s Hope will serve human trafficking survivors in the recovery process from drugs, alcohol, or other dependencies. Residents likely will be early in recovery and will need formal treatment and supportive social services, the two groups said.

There will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, a multi-purpose space, private meeting rooms, computer access, laundry access, and green space. CMHA hopes to break ground in May of 2022 and residents could move in by the summer of 2023.

“This will increase the amount of affordable housing in general in the area,” Bitzenhofer said. “This is an innovative and creative way to house people.”

Each unit will be covered by a housing choice voucher, so residents won’t pay more than 30% of their adjusted income to live there, said Bob Bitzenhofer, vice president for planning and development for CMHA.

“We want this to be a stable place for people to live,” Bitzenhofer said.

The $13 million, three-story development received Low Income Housing Tax Credits in May and recently won a $1 million federal grant. Park National Bank and the Affordable Housing Trust helped put together a loan package for the project. The Ohio Housing Financing Agency also helped with the project.

Harriet’s Hope is being built on the site of a former motel in Franklinton. The address isn’t publicized to keep residents safe.

CMHA and Beacon worked with several human trafficking survivors on the project’s design and some were present at the demolition of the former motel.

Bitzenhofer said the Salvation Army and the Franklin County CATCH Court will be partners in the project and provide services to residents.

“Hopefully this is a success and it is a model that can be replicated all over,” Bitzenhofer said.

Beacon 360 Management CEO Celia Kendall came to CMHA with the idea for Harriet’s House after volunteering with survivors of trafficking.

CMHA has developed housing for specific populations before, including single parents going to college and homeless youth.

“This fits very squarely in with our agency goals,” Bitzenhofer said.

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