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Neighbors concerned about proposed apartment building for youth in Brice

Neighbors packed a room inside Brice Methodist Church Monday night for a meeting about a proposed plan to build a three-story apartment building that  would house transition-aged youth from ages 18 to 24, who may struggle with homelessness, have aged out of foster care or have substance use disorders among other things. (WSYX/WTTE)

BRICE, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- Neighbors packed a room inside Brice Methodist Church Monday night for a meeting about a proposed plan to build a three-story apartment building.

The Community Housing Network is proposing the plan. The apartment building would be developed on vacant land on the south side of Chatterton Road, just west of Brice Road. Forty units would house transition-aged youth from ages 18 to 24, who may struggle with homelessness, have aged out of foster care or have substance use disorders among other things.

Huckleberry House says it will provide youth-focused supportive services on site.

"Our goal is not just to say we are going to take kids that come from difficult situations and find a great neighborhood for them to live in. Sometimes, you have to learn how to navigate life where you are able to live, where you can afford to live, " said Becky Westerfelt, the Executive Director of Huckleberry House.

Along with concerns about support for tenants, the other issue for neighbors is their property values.

Many say they are already struggling with that because it's a high crime area.

"They are setting these children up for failure. They want to have them to succeed. We have too many drugs in this area. There's murders," said resident Wanda Brown.

It will cost about $8 million to build the apartment building. If everything works out, it could open as early as 2020.

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