BREAD says city and county need to better fund affordable housing

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Brenda Minor says she had “a nice house” that she rented out on the North Side for $ 595 a month when her landlord informed her last year that she had to move because it was being sold.

This started a four-month scramble to try and find a new location the 65-year-old supply clerk for an Ohio State University medical facility could afford. She ended up moving into a townhouse near Highway 161 which cost $ 750 per month – $ 155 or 26% more.

“I didn’t quite have the finances back then to, you know, pay to participate,” Minor said. “But God made a way and made a way.

“It wasn’t quite in the price range, but like I said, it was October and I needed something. It was getting cold outside. I settled in.”

Minor joined a group of about 20 members of the community action ministry organization BREAD on Wednesday outside the lively construction project of the new downtown stadium for the Crew SC to demand that if Columbus and Franklin County can find the money for this project, they could do more to address the lack of affordable housing.

“While we are not against the crew of the crew, or the people of Columbus supporting the crew, we understand that this is $ 200 million,” said Pastor Charles Leister of the New Beginning Christian Center on the south-eastern side. “And we have a housing crisis in the city of Columbus and Franklin County that we can’t find the money to start to breach.”

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the consumer price index – the national benchmark for inflation – nationwide grew 2.6% in the 12 months ending March 2021. The costs of “housing” rose only 1.7% nationally, a statistic that seems completely out of touch with central Ohio.

A breakdown review last month of more than 60 cities in central Ohio and Columbus neighborhoods found that the average home value in central Ohio climbed 11.3% in the 12 months ending February 2020. In some neighborhoods in Columbus, prices have soared much higher: in the neighborhood south of the main neighborhood, home values ​​rose 32%; in Driving Park, 34%; at Milo-Grogan, 28%; and South Linden, 43%.

As homeowners who buy new homes try to cover their mortgages, those increases are passed on to tenants like Minor. PAIN protesters held signs showing the average salaries of waitresses ($ 19,610), fast food workers ($ 19,510) and customer service representative ($ 34,590) above the words “Je do not have the means to accommodate me ”.

Protesters called on the city to quickly spend the remaining $ 40 million in affordable housing bonds out of the $ 50 million approved by Columbus voters in 2019. “We think it’s critical that we have a clear plan. to use that money, “Leister said, adding that units set aside as” affordable “in exchange for tax breaks are still out of the price bracket for many residents.

Columbus City Council has already approved bond money grants to fund 129 units and has firm commitments for more than 300 additional units, city development director Michael Stevens said. The city will continue to spend the bond’s $ 10 million per year on projects over the next 4 years, he said.

BREAD also called on the city and county to devote at least a third of a planned federal windfall of more than $ 400 million in coronavirus emergency aid in central Ohio to affordable housing projects.

“We are still awaiting advice from the US Treasury on the use of (federal) ARP funds,” Stevens said.

The Dispatch reported last year that the public contribution to keep the crew in Columbus exceeded $ 210 million, with more than half coming from the city, about a quarter from Franklin County, and the rest of the State and a new ‘community authority’ that can issue bonds with property taxes from a new mixed-use development adjacent to the downtown stadium.

The city says public investment in the Arena District will result in $ 1.04 billion in private development, 3,200 jobs and $ 6.5 million per year in municipal tax revenue.

The county has historically allocated nearly $ 17 million annually for affordable housing, homelessness prevention, emergency shelter and general housing efforts, and in 2019, the commissioners pledged to contribute 6, An additional $ 5 million per year, said Tyler Lowry, spokesperson for the Commissioners.

“This annual investment of $ 23.5 million in affordable housing is nearly ten times the annual commitment of the Commissioners to economic development surrounding the Crew Stadium project,” Lowry said in an email. “Commissioners have also allocated additional millions for rental assistance, mortgages and housing over the past year due to the pandemic.

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@ReporterBush



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