New housing for people with disabilities will be built in south Augusta using a $1.4 million U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant awarded to Walton Rehabilitation Health Services.
Twelve apartments on Dover Street near Lyman Street will house people currently on the long waiting list who traditionally have a difficult time finding affordable, accessible housing.
The property was chosen because it’s in an area undergoing revitilization and provides conveniences for the residents such as bus service and nearby stores, said Beth Miller, vice president of Walton Community Services.
When approached by the city to consider the land, Walton initially hesitated fearing safety concerns in the area. City revitilization efforts seem to be working to correct those problems, Miller said.
“Plus, our location will be directly behind the Marshal’s station. So we feel since the area is being revitilized it will be a good location for the residents,” she said.
Design plans are still under way, but two buildings with six two-bedroom units each are likely. The design will be similar to Walton West Villas on Bertram Road and Walton’s most recent complex, Walton South on West Richmond Hill Road that opened about six months ago, she said.
“A lot of individuals we find that utilize walkers or wheelchairs have difficulty finding housing,” Miller said. “The more accessible the apartment is, the more independent the individual is allowed to be.”
The waiting list has grown to 214 people for Walton’s accessible housing in Augusta. Rising to the top of the list can take more than five years. Another 22 people are on the Thomson list and 71 people in North Augusta.
“Once individuals move in, they pretty much stay until they expire,” Miller said.
Walton operates 13 other apartment complexes, four for seniors older than 62 and nine for people with disabilities. Residents pay 30 percent of their adjusted income for rent and HUD funding covers the rest, she said.
Another $816,000 HUD grant awarded to Walton will be used to expand a senior housing complex in Harlem that opened last December. Planer Mill Village will grow to 22 units from its current 14. Eight people will be housed from the waiting list of 12, Miller said.