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Gridiron housing project aims to give tenants financial stability

The Gridiron is an affordable housing project created by leaders of St. John’s Homeless Shelter.
Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WBAY) - Ashwaubenon community members had a chance to learn about a $6.5 million housing project aimed to help tenants secure financial stability.

The Gridiron is an affordable housing project created by leaders of St. John’s Homeless Shelter.

It’s aimed towards young professionals, seniors looking to downsize, and/or cost-burdened families.

St. Johns purchased the former Maple Ridge Rehabilitation and Care Center in Ashwaubenon.

Leaders plan to turn the building into 50 market-rate housing units with studio apartments, up to four bedroom options. The project is designed to be privately funded by businesses and community partners.

This will help tenants secure their own financial future by setting aside a portion of their rent, which they will be able to access when they decide to move out.

It will also set aside funds to purchase additional sites for similar housing developments.

Alexia Wood, executive director of St. John’s came up with the plan as part of her doctoral capstone project.

“What we found is that America treats homelessness like it’s a temporary housing issue; that you simply offer them housing, check the box and consider it success and move on. Yet we see the long term outcomes certainly don’t point to that,” said Wood.

Wood cites long term health effects with increased costs to the community as a result of not addressing the root causes of homelessness.

The project still needs full Village Board approval before any renovations can start, which are expected to happen within the next couple of months.

Wood hopes to start renovations as early as this year.

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