The Peace House could be granted nearly $1 million in funds to construct transitional housing with a conditional plan drafted by Summit County that would forward funds from the approved Tanger Outlets expansion to the organization.
As part of the Tanger Outlets' new development agreement for a 23,500 square foot expansion, developers were required to pay to the county a fee-in-lieu of $960,490 for the purposes of affordable housing.
After negotiations with the developers, the county has directed Tanger's fee-in-lieu to be used for Peace House transitional housing, which will serve individuals who are temporarily homeless due to domestic violence.
However, the funds will only be directed to the Peace House if the organization can follow a timeline that the county formulated. According to Summit County Manager Bob Jasper, the purpose for the timeline is so the funds do not get "tied up" for a long period of time. Deadlines include:
If the Peace House does not meet these deadlines, the county has the ability to direct the funds to another affordable housing organization, according to the plan.
Peace House Executive Director Jane Patten said she is pleased with this opportunity for the organization to make a profound impact in the community by assisting domestic violence victims.
"Transitional housing will help us to provide a continuum of care in our outreach program," Patten said. "We have a small shelter right now and the average length of stay is a little over 30 days. It's very hard to transform your life in 30 days."
Transitional housing would give victims support services and a safe yet independent environment to begin to move their lives back to normalcy and self-sufficiency, Patten added.
Peace House could build anywhere from six to 10 housing units, serving between 10 and 20 individuals, Patten said. The organization would consider acquiring property anywhere in Summit County between three and five acres and would need to be located close to a bus stop. The property could be either donated or purchased or leased at a "very good price," Patten added.
Jasper said the county likes the plan it has formulated and is "comfortable" with the time period set out.
"There were concerns that we didn't want to [just] set the money aside," Jasper said. "There are a lot of needs out there."
Patten thanked both parties involved in the process.
"The county has been very open-minded. We certainly thank Tanger," Patten said. "Tanger has stood by us and worked with us to try to make this plan work. We appreciated their caring and tenacity."
The Peace House is working "fast and furious" to try and acquire property, Patten said, although the organization is only in the preliminary stages of speaking with individuals about possibilities.