New Affordable Housing (With a Twist) Coming to Near East Side
Construction is underway on a trio of new buildings that will bring 18 apartments and 10 townhomes to North 17th Street on the Near East Side. Applications are now being accepted for potential tenants of the new buildings, who will be part of an innovative program meant to provide affordable housing and other services to parents working toward a college degree.
The program, Columbus Scholar House, has been in operation on a smaller scale just up the street for over three years. Ten apartments in the Charles Building, at the southeast corner of 17th and Long Street, are currently filled with tenants receiving discounted rent and free childcare while they attend a local college or university.
Sarah French, marketing and communications manager at Community Properties of Ohio Management Services, said that the idea came from Kentucky, where President and CEO Isabel Toth saw the success of a similar program and decided to bring it to Columbus. This is the first program of its kind in Ohio.
Tenants must be full-time students, have primary custody of at least one child, and meet income and GPA requirements. Many of the parents also work full time.
The new buildings, which are being constructed with the help of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, will bring the total number of units in the Columbus Scholar House program to 38.
A three-story building at 84 N. 17th will hold 18 apartments on the upper floors and community uses such as a computer lab and a kids area on the basement level. The other two buildings – a six unit building just south of the Charles Building at 98 N. 17th and a four-unit building at 42 N. 17th – will both be two stories and feature two-bedroom townhomes.
French emphasized the collaborative nature of the program – CPO Management, the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (the parent organization of CPO Management), and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority all worked together to make it happen. The participating organizations have also been closely involved with the ongoing planning and community reinvestment work of PACT in the area.
“This ‘two generations’ approach to education, we think, directly aligns with the mission of PACT, and also with the work CMHA is doing with Poindexter and all of the interest in revitalizing the Near East Side,” said French. “We are really excited to be a part of it.”
The first of the smaller buildings is scheduled for completion in July, while the larger apartment building should be finished by November.
Renderings provided by Community Properties of Ohio.