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10/23/23 blog post

Dayton Children's is building ADA-accessible housing for kinship families

this health equity project will address the impact of housing on health

grandmother with her grandchildren

better housing is on its way for kinship families

Did you know that housing remains the number one social issue that impacts health? Unsafe, unstable housing undermines medical conditions and causes significant family disruption. Children’s housing stability can impact their future economic well-being. As Dayton Children’s works to reinvent the path to children’s health, we know addressing housing issues is a critical component of that path. 

"Our goal is to create a space where families can thrive, children can develop optimally, and where families feel deeply connected to their community. We're most excited to bring this project to the Old North Dayton neighborhood, where the hospital has stood for decades," shares Jessica Salem, executive director of Dayton Children's Center for Health Equity and hospital project manager of the Kinship Housing initiative.  

Kinship care is commonly defined as "the full-time care, nurturing, and protection of a child by relatives, members of their Tribe or clan, godparents, stepparents, or other adults who have a family relationship to a child." 

For kinship families, who are often grandparents, housing can often be difficult to find.  Dayton Children’s serves many kinship families and we have learned (specifically from our Kinship Navigators working out of the Connor Child Health Pavilion) that the housing needs for kinship caregivers are unique.   

Some of the feedback that these kinship caregivers have shared include: 

  • That their homes are not ADA-compliant to meet their needs or the needs of their children. 
  • Their housing is often not suitable for multiple children and siblings (which is common in kinship situations).
  • They struggle to keep up with home maintenance due to their fixed income.
  • In addition, they often experience isolation and lack the ability to access many community resources that may offer greater support to the children.

highlights of the Kinship Housing project

Dayton Children’s is answering this challenge through our new Kinship Family Housing project. To address these unique needs, we have developed some of the following details for the project:  

a rendering of proposed kinship housing
  • Dayton Children’s has purchased a 2-acre lot about two blocks from the hospital campus in Greater Old North Dayton as the development site. This location provides access to many urban amenities including a library, schools, bus stops, parks, and small grocery stores.  It is also within walking distance to the hospital where families receive care and on a bus line providing easy access around the city. 
  • The current design includes 26 housing units in 13 one and two-story duplexes. The housing will be ADA accessible with a minimum of 3 bedrooms and 2 baths to accommodate larger families.
  • Shared communal spaces including a community room, community garden and play areas will support optimal child development and reduce isolation. 
  • Programmatically, the project will create stronger resource connections to educational support, food, and other social services. 
  • The intent for the design is for the new housing to fit seamlessly within the neighborhood environment so families feel connected to the community. 
    a rendering of kinship housing neighborhood

We are currently finalizing the financing of the project and getting approvals from the City of Dayton. In the meantime, Dayton Children’s is interviewing a property manager who will manage the leasing and maintenance of the project.  

"Through the Dayton Children's Kinship Family Housing, we are hoping to bring more positive change to the Greater Old North Dayton community.  This initiative is not just about providing housing; it's about nurturing a sense of belonging, support, and connection for kinship families," shares Salem. 

This project was recently featured in the Dayton Daily News. Please reach out to Jessica Salem at for more information. 

Jessica Salem

Jessica Salem

executive director, Center for Health Equity
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