HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. — While visiting Northern Kentucky Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear shared the details of new grants that aim to improve road safety and help economically disadvantaged people attain college degrees.
In Highland Heights, Beshear spoke glowingly of the state’s efforts to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Folks, we are only halfway through the year, but we have already announced more investment, and more new jobs in 2021 than all of 2020 and it’s reaching every part of this Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “When you look at Kentucky and the fact that we came into this pandemic No. 1, two or three in heart disease, lung cancer and diabetes, everything this virus comes for, we have lost fewer people per capita than just about any other state. Our goodness has shined through.”
The next step, he said, is making sure everyone gets a shot at prosperity.
“We are presenting this check for a million dollars to make this project happen,” he announced.
Beshear awarded the $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to the City of Highland Heights, which applied for the grant in partnership with Brighton Properties, Inc. (BPI).
The money will help transform what’s now known as the Brown Building into the Highland Heights Opportunity House.
The building has been vacant for 15 years. It was once a center for juveniles who’d gotten into trouble. Police also used it to shelter women and children in abusive households.
Now the Brighton Center, which serves underprivileged families in Northern Kentucky, is taking over.
“And this project will continue toward the goal of putting families on the pathway of self-sufficiency and bring prosperity to the Commonwealth,” said Robert Arnold, board chair for Brighton Properties, Inc.
The building will include 16 affordable apartments available for low-income Kentuckians ages 18-24, who are pursuing a college degree or a professional certificate.
The basement of the house will provide social services and counseling for residents.
BPI will match 83% of the CDBG grant, investing $832,105 into the Opportunity House. Brighton Center will also provide a licensed therapist to provide intake assessments of prospective residents and a full-time case manager to develop and monitor individual-specific plans.
“It turns the lost, the lonely and the left behind into the found, the embraced and the moving ahead. It gives people just that extra help, those extra supports to make them successful,” Beshear said.
NKU is forgoing rental income by leasing the property to the Brighton Center for $1 a year.
It was an easy decision, said University President Dr. Ashish Vaidya.
“Our responsibility at NKU is to be a student-ready, regionally engaged university that empowers all kinds of learners, regardless of your background,” Vaidya said.
Beshear also presented funding for transportation projects to improve school safety at four locations in Campbell and Kenton counties.