Christopher Community, Inc., and YWCA of Cortland celebrated Thursday morning the grand opening of Grace Brown House, a $7.7 million 25-unit housing project that provides supportive housing for domestic violence survivors and their families who are at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Kelly Tobin, the executive director of the YWCA Cortland, said most women go back to their abuser because of the lack of safe, affordable housing.

“So this house that we’re standing in today is 25-units of permanent affordable housing. We’ve partnered with Christopher Community, who is a nonprofit developer agency that owns and maintains and actually is a landlord of the property," Tobin said.

For the last 50 years, Christopher Community has developed and operated safe, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families throughout the state of New York.

“And we started this process and engaging with the YWCA in 2016. Through that process, we were able to develop a lot of partnerships to be able to pull this deal together with the support of the state providing financing and funding,” said Justin Rudgick, president and CEO of Christopher Community.

The Grace Brown House Project is specifically for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. There is no time restriction on how long residents can stay.

“We have a food pantry here, we help with transportation. We help with any financial assistance they need to be successful,” Tobin said.

The YWCA received funding from the Empire State Affordable Housing Initiative. With the funds, they are able to subsidize rent and utilities, as well as provide services to residents based on their needs.

“We’ve been able to set these apartments up so that they are fully furnished. We’re providing their basic necessities so that they have that foundation to get started and start their lives over,” said Jessica Smith, housing director at YWCA Cortland.

Smith said by August, Grace Brown House will be fully occupied with residents.