The Columbus Foundation, the City of Columbus, Franklin County, and local businesses have announced a $100 million public-private partnership to address affordable housing needs in the central Ohio region.
The investment of $5 million by the foundation in a Housing Action Fund will support below-market-rate loans to nonprofit and for-profit developers committed to creating long-term affordable housing options for those in need. A collaborative effort between the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio and the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus & Franklin County, the fund will make it easier for financial institutions, corporations, foundations, and other investors to fund housing development, home repair and modification, and targeted renter assistance, with the goal of addressing the severe shortage of affordable housing in the city and county. A 2017 study found that fifty-four thousand Franklin County households at or near the poverty level spend more than half their income on housing. To meet the demand for affordable housing in the region, the study notes, the number of units built annually will need to to almost double, from eight thousand to fourteen thousand.
Other founding investors in the fund include the Columbia Gas/NiSource Charitable Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, Heartland Bank, Huntington National Bank, L Brands, Nationwide, 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 Columbus Foundation president and CEO Doug Kridler. "With Franklin County projected to grow by another two hundred thousand people to a population of nearly one-and-a-half 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 twenty-first century."
(Photo credit: Columbus Foundation)