New Model

The Courtyard in Fort Wayne, Ind., is one of the first, if not the first, affordable housing developments in the area that targets young adults aging out of foster care or at risk of being homeless. The 36-unit development grew out of a partnership involving Biggs TC Development, Stop Child Abuse and Neglect, and Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY).

Learning Experience

The Courtyard places a strong focus on health and wellness. For some residents, this will be the first time they’ve had their own apartment. MKM Architecture + Design created a building that features a demonstration kitchen that will be used to teach residents how to cook. The classes will also help them gain skills to work at local restaurants. A garden is also planned.

A Safe Place

“This is an innovative living experience where young people can find safety and security not only physically but emotionally, where they can collect good people in their lives whom they never have to lose,” says Donna Bolinger, director of business development at SAFY, the project’s service provider. Officials estimate that 226 youths aged out of foster care in the county in 2012.

Bonus Effect

Beyond providing residents with a place to live, the project is an important one for the larger neighborhood. The Courtyard, which opened its doors in July, replaces the Duemling Clinic, which sat vacant for many years before finally being demolished to make room for the new Sec. 8 development. Residents pay just 30 percent of their income for rent.

Key Financing

The $8.7 million development is financed largely with low-income housing tax credits from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. Syndicated by Great Lakes Capital Fund, the credits generated about $5.8 million in equity. The city of Fort Wayne was also key, providing about $1 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds.