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New Hire at City to Focus on Affordable Housing

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Hire at City to Focus on Affordable HousingAffordable housing in Weinland Park, renovated by Homeport in 2016. Photo by Brent Warren.
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At a press event yesterday, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced the creation of a new position within the city’s Department of Development focused on affordable housing.

He also announced his pick for the position – Erin Prosser, who has worked as a planner for MKSK and Franklin County, and who most recently worked for Ohio State University’s Department of Planning, Architecture and Real Estate. At OSU, she worked on a wide variety of projects, including the 15th and High project and the long-running efforts to revitalize Weinland Park.

Her work in Weinland Park included the addition of nearly 500 affordable housing units to the neighborhood, according to a city press release.

Prosser’s new title will be Assistant Director of Housing Strategies.

“This is an important moment for all of our neighborhoods as we take significant and meaningful steps toward increasing the availability of affordable housing and generating the kind of growth that is dynamic, equitable and responsive to the needs of our residents,” said Mayor Ginther in the release. “I am delighted to welcome Erin onboard to help us lead this work, and I look forward to seeing the ways in which her experience and expertise will expand opportunity and uplift our community.”

The announcement was made at the site of Jenkins Street Lofts, a 60-unit affordable apartment complex that is currently under construction in Merion Village.

“Central Ohio is at a critical inflection point, and the city we become will depend on the decisions and policies we implement now and in the coming years,” Prosser said. “Affordable housing is a passion for me. I am excited to join this all-hands-on-deck undertaking to create and grow diverse, thriving and sustainable communities across Columbus.”

Carlie Boos, Executive Director of the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, is excited about the pick.

“Ms. Prosser has big ideas, loads of experience, and a passion for service,” said Boos. “With her kind of leadership, Columbus has the chance to be the first city in the country to solve the affordable housing puzzle.”

Boos told CU that the new position is important because there is a real need for “someone who is accountable for tying [everything] together and making sure that every piece is moving towards a solution.”

The mayor also highlighted several other housing-related initiatives:

  • An additional $10 million in funding to be directed toward affordable housing projects. The money, which comes from a bond package approved by Columbus voters in 2019, will be included in the city’s upcoming capital budget.
  • A Renter’s Choice program that will help inform renters about alternatives to traditional security deposits. City Council passed a legislative package in March that included a new requirement for landlords to offer such options.
  • A Foreclosure Registry, which will create a centralized, up-to-date database of foreclosed properties in the city.

Additional Reading: Is the City’s Tax Abatement Program Meeting Affordable Housing Need?

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