DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – YWCA Dayton hopes a building renovation will help the organization continue transforming lives.

Thursday, it unveiled parts of its nearly finished first phase of project ‘Renovating Lives,’ focusing on permanent supportive housing. Studio and one-bedroom apartments for women struggling with homelessness or chronic disabilities occupy the top floors of the historic 1913-era YWCA building.

“When you come home, you want to make sure your space feels like home. You want to make sure it feels comfortable, it feels inviting and it feels like yours,” said YWCA Compliance and Special Projects Manager Nicholas Hubbard.

During renovation, crews knocked down cinderblock walls and removed drop ceilings to create a more open space and restore historic integrity. Previously, the residents lived in small, cinderblock quarters with a bed and dresser and used communal kitchens and bathrooms. The 65 new apartments, including four ADA accessible units, each feature their own kitchen, bathroom and living area.

Builders also incorporated a learning kitchen, food pantry and common spaces.

Although the renovation eliminated about 20 individual rooms, staff explained the quality of the new spaces was top priority.

“The space just breathes life. It’s peaceful and it’s dignified, and it’s that first step that women need on that journey toward healing,” said Audrey Starr, the Marketing and Communications Director for YWCA Dayton.

YWCA Dayton serves up to 125 women and children daily between its emergency and permanent housing. Throughout its myriad of services, it helps close to 10,000 each year.

The $14.9 million renovation project will be completed in three phases to avoid disrupting any services.

Hubbard explained, “It’s not only going to expand our ability to serve women and children in a greater capacity, but it’s also going to give the individuals we serve the respect, the space, the privacy they need to live beautiful lives.”

The next phases include transforming the YWCA emergency shelter and renovating the building’s north side. The project is scheduled to wrap up in early 2020.

You can learn more about YWCA Dayton’s mission and services by clicking here.

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