The Franklin County Commissioners this morning voted to approve a $5 million grant to the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County, which is an independent non-profit lender that works to develop affordable housing in Central Ohio. More than 30,000 evictions have been filed in Franklin County since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a quarter of Ohio renters lack confidence in their ongoing ability to pay their rent.
“No one can thrive without the security of stable housing,” said Board of Commissioners President Erica C. Crawley. “Rent today can eat up many families’ whole paycheck, though, and there are plenty of places where you can’t find a nice place to live at any price. It’s vital that we continue to increase the stock of affordable housing for our residents and doing that in a way that also gets more women and minorities into the real estate development business is a win-win.”
The Affordable Housing Trust will use the commissioners’ funding to establish a new program to increase the amount of affordable housing that is available in Central Ohio by engaging with more minority and women developers. The new initiative will provide both technical assistance and working capital to new projects from program graduates. Participants will take part in a six-month educational course, and then have access to one-on-one consulting and be able to apply for low interest loans from the Affordable Housing Trust. The City of Columbus and JPMorgan Chase are also partnering on this project.
“It’s great that we’re the kind of community where lots of people want to be, but one of the results is that it’s hard for the amount of housing that’s available to keep up with the number of people moving to our county,” said Commissioner John O’Grady. “Our population is project to more than double in the coming few decades, so it’s vitally important that we keep developing new housing options and that we ensure that significant portions of it are affordable for regular families.”
In a separate action today, the commissioners approved a $10 million grant to IMPACT Community Action for emergency assistance for families that are struggling to stay in their homes. Under that agreement, IMPACT will provide rental and utility assistance to approximately 2,600 low-income Central Ohio households that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, IMPACT Community Action has used city and county funding to help 30,000 families stay in their homes since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Many families live paycheck-to-paycheck, and when the pandemic disrupted our economy, many of them saw those paychecks disrupted through no fault of their own,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “Many people are back to work now, but the effects of the pandemic are going to reverberate in the economy for a long time. People need to feel secure in their housing so that they can focus on rebuilding the other parts of their lives.”
The funding for this grant was made possible by the American Rescue Plan (ARP). To learn more about the ARP and how the commissioners are using this funding to help our community recover from the pandemic, visit Recovery.FranklinCountyOhio.gov