May 2, 2022 - News

The plan to fix Ohio's affordable rental housing shortage

Affordable rental home gap in Ohio
Note: Includes units needed for households at or below 50% of area median income. Data: American Community Survey; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's no secret that Columbus-area housing is getting more expensive and harder to come by — and housing activists are offering a roadmap toward fixing it.

Why it matters: Ohio has nowhere near the number of available affordable rental housing units needed to serve low-income families, per a new report from the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

  • Per the report, Ohio needs an additional 254,000 units including tens of thousands more in Columbus alone.

State of play: Columbus' widespread housing shortage leads those with higher incomes to snatch up cheaper units, says Marcus Roth, COHHIO's communications and development director.

Yes, but: Ohio received upwards of $5 billion in relief money through the American Rescue Plan Act. COHHIO wants to see that funding put to good use.

  • The group's plan calls for building thousands of new rental units, expanding a housing program that assists local mothers and rehabilitating homes for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • A spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine tells Axios the governor's office is reviewing the proposal.

What they're saying: "This is just putting numbers to what everybody knows," Carlie Boos, executive director of the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, tells Axios.

  • Boos says the widespread support from entities like the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Nationwide Children's Hospital demonstrates how this issue impacts other community needs, from jobs to public health.
  • She also credits Mayor Andrew Ginther with seeking a $150 million bond package toward affordable housing projects on the November 2022 ballot.

Of note: Boos highlighted local resources available to help struggling residents pay rent and prevent eviction.

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