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New Plan Will Direct Affordable Housing Funds

Brent Warren Brent Warren New Plan Will Direct Affordable Housing FundsAffordable housing in Weinland Park, renovated by Homeport in 2016. Photo by Brent Warren.
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This year has seen two high-profile commitments to addressing the shortage of affordable housing in Central Ohio – the establishment of a $100 million Housing Fund in June and the allocation of $50 million toward the cause from a bond package approved by Columbus voters in May.

Details about how exactly that money will be spent, though, have been scarce.

A new initiative announced today would draw up a blueprint for that spending. Enterprise Community Partners, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit organization, will lead the effort. Other consultants on the team include Ice Miller, RAMA Consulting and Vogt Strategic Insights.  

“As Central Ohio grows, now is the opportunity to get ahead of major challenges related to housing affordability that other regions our size are facing today,” said Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission Executive Director William Murdock in a statement. “That said, we must act quickly as studies over the last few years, the most recent coming from the BIA, show we are not keeping up with the need for housing.”

The study referenced by Murdock was released by the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio in December of last year. It estimated that, while about 8,000 new housing units are added to the market every year, 14,000 units are actually needed to keep up with demand.

The new initiative, called the Regional Housing Study, is expected to be completed by the spring of 2020. It is funded by the cities of Columbus, Dublin, Grove City, Lancaster, Whitehall, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Marysville, Delaware, and Westerville; Franklin, Union, and Licking counties; the Columbus Partnership, and the Columbus Foundation.

In addition to recommending the best way to spend the newly allocated funds, the study will also look at impediments to building more housing and will identify new sources of private and public funding. Recent research on the subject from the Affordable Housing Alliance and Franklin County will serve as a starting point for the new effort, according to a press release.

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