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$100 Million Allocated to Affordable Housing in Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans $100 Million Allocated to Affordable Housing in ColumbusThe Marsh Run Apartments are one of Homeport's affordable housing communities — Photo by Walker Evans.
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Central Ohio is lacking in affordable housing (ie: low-income housing), but a new fund hopes to change that. Local civic and business leaders announced today that a $100 million Housing Action Fund would help address that need.

“We know that more than 54,000 people in central Ohio live at or near poverty and spend more than a half of their income for housing,” stated Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “As the city and region continue to grow, we must make sure that residents who work in the region can afford to live here, too.”

The Housing Action Fund is a collaborative project between the City of Columbus, Franklin County, The Columbus Foundation and multiple corporate partners including Columbus Gas/NiSource, Fifth Third Bank, Heartland Bank, Huntington, L Brands, Nationwide Insurance, Park National Bank and PNC.

“This is an historic investment into our community that will address a critical need today and pay dividends for generations to come,” said Doug Kridler, President and CEO of The Columbus Foundation. “With Franklin County projected to grow by another 200,000 people to a population of nearly 1.5 million by the year 2050, by collectively supporting housing affordability in this way now, we have the opportunity to grow in a more inclusive way throughout the rest of the 21st century.”

The fund will offer loans at a below-market rate to housing development companies and organizations that meet affordability requirements (an average of 60 percent area median income rents or below — or less than $1,200 a month for a three-person household), and will work in addition to $50 million in bond money that was approved by voters in May.

While this new fund will help address the affordable housing shortfall, there is still additional work to be done. According to the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio, approximately 8,000 new housing units are added to the market every year while 14,000 per year are needed to keep up with demand. The $100 million Housing Action Fund is expected to add or renovate 2,150 units.

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