KHC Hosts First Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Opens 12-Unit Development Providing Permanent Housing for Homeless in Owensboro
FRANKFORT, Kentucky — No one was more excited to officially open the Nicky Hayden Memorial Apartments than Jana Pollard. Counting down, she knew that in 11 days, she would receive the key to her apartment.
"I can't wait to ring the doorbell," Jana said. "It has been so long since I have had one that I can't wait to ring the doorbell and walk in, knowing that apartment is mine."
Jana, along with representatives from Kentucky Housing Corporation, the Hayden family, the Daniel Pitino Shelter, Wabuck Development, the City of Owensboro, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati and Field and Main Bank virtually cut the ribbon officially opening the development on July 28, just two days before its namesake, Nicky Hayden's, birthday.
Known as the "Kentucky Kid," Nicky Hayden was a professional motorcycle racer who won the MotoGP World Championship in 2006 and was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. In 2017, he was killed when a driver struck him while he was riding a bicycle. His family created a foundation in his memory, which they used to help fund the project.
"Through darkness comes light, and we are honored to continue Nicky's legacy by helping those in need, especially through a wonderful organization like the Daniel Pitino Shelter," said Kathleen Hayden McFadden, Nicky's sister, who serves on the board of directors for the Pitino Shelter. The shelter provides emergency and transitional housing as well as food to Owensboro's homeless. They also help the homeless obtain other services, including job training, health care, transportation and insurance.
The virtual ribbon cutting was a first for KHC. In light of Governor Andy Beshear's suggestion to socially distance, KHC, Wabuck Development, and the Pitino Shelter worked to create a virtual ribbon cutting experience. Attendees could join the event via Zoom or watch it livestreamed on Facebook. Participants could pre-record or give their greetings live. At the end of the event, the Hayden family cut the ribbon on the property, while virtual attendees cut sections of blue ribbon in their homes, so everyone could partake in the fun.
The 12 one-bedroom apartments in Owensboro, Kentucky, will help homeless individuals like Jana transition to permanent housing. They must have incomes with 60 percent or below the area median income.
After a financial setback, Jana became homeless, but not hopeless. She continued to work to pay off her debt, but she said being homeless was a full-time job. It was draining to try to rebuild her life as well as to care for her basic needs. But the Pitino Shelter gave her a second chance. It gave her stability – a home, a steady food source. She lives there and works part-time in the office, and she said it will be strange to not have a roommate for the first time in a while, but she feels like the 12 moving into the Nicky Hayden Memorial Apartments are a graduating class who can come back and give advice to other Pitino Shelter residents.
"I'm amazed that I have this opportunity to have an apartment, because I didn't think I could do it," Jana said. "I am grateful that it is not just for the ones of us who are in here, but it is for the community, because everyone needs a chance.
"I used to get very depressed about the financial stresses in my life, but all I can say to those in my situation is if you want it, do it," Jana said. "Don't wait for it to be handed to you. Put your hand out there and your feet up and walk and get what you need to get on your feet. There are people who are willing to help you. It's not easy, but it's worth it in the end."
KHC allocated $900,000 in HOME and Affordable Housing Trust Fund funds for the project, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati provided $600,000 in funds and Field and Main Bank offered a $800,000 construction loan and more than $22,500 in donations, waived fees and interest payments. The Pitino Shelter contributed an additional $69,340 in equity donations.
"This is a project that's been several years in the making," said Pitino Shelter Vice Chairman Greg Mullican. "Thanks to the vision of our board and our staff, we've got a project that's a tremendous addition to what our original mission is here at the shelter."
Kentucky Housing Corporation, the state housing finance agency, was created by the 1972 General Assembly to provide affordable housing opportunities. As a self-supporting, public corporation, Kentucky Housing offers down payment assistance loans to assist first-time homebuyers obtain home mortgages, housing production financing, homeownership education/counseling, rental assistance, housing rehabilitation, and supportive housing programs for special needs populations.
Kentucky Housing Corporation prohibits discrimination based on race; color; religion; sex; national origin; sexual orientation; gender identity; ancestry; age; disability; or marital, familial, or veteran status.