Women sad, angry over sale of nonprofit Ohio home

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm •  Published: May 18, 2013
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Under the deal with Western & Southern, the women living at the Anna Louise will stay there until a new building for them is finished, in about two years. It will be located in a shabby neighborhood on a busy street 2 miles north of where they are now. The nearest park is a 1.5-mile walk away, over a freeway.

"Western & Southern had the money to fight and the Anna Louise Inn didn't," said Howard, who is about to receive a degree in social work, which she wants to use to help women flee abusive relationships. "When you have that much money and you want something, eventually you're going to get it."

The Anna Louise will now be among a bevy of properties in the neighborhood owned by Western & Southern, which developed Cincinnati's tallest building in 2011 and has renovated a handful of historic properties in the area, including an upscale hotel.

Company CEO John Barrett has long said it was time for the women at the Anna Louise to leave the neighborhood to make way for economic development. He plans to turn the building into a boutique hotel and envisions transforming the neighborhood into a hub of activity with restaurants and bars.

"This truly is a win for everyone and will make Lytle Park a destination like no other," Barrett said in a Monday news release announcing the Anna Louise sale.

Barrett, who has repeatedly declined requests for an interview, has become a loathed figure at the Anna Louise, not only for his tireless efforts to acquire the property but also for the way he has talked about the women living there, repeatedly referring to them as recovering prostitutes and saying they just don't belong in the neighborhood.

"That hurt. To be categorized," said Sherene Julian, 48, who escaped decades of drug addiction and prostitution when she moved to the Anna Louise. "It made me feel that I was lesser than."

Julian, who recently moved in with her boyfriend but still gets medical services at the Anna Louise, said a part of the women's home will always be with her.

"To me it's sacred ground because that's where I was able to turn my life around," Julian said. "I know for a fact if the Anna Louise did not intervene in my life I would probably be dead."

Tatiana McCormick, 24, who lived at the inn after leaving Ohio's foster care system six years ago, said she's angry about the home's sale.

"A lot of these ladies now have to worry about their living situation," she said. "This was something that was going well for people and it's been there for three generations. To have it happen like this, it's just outrageous."

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