Prosperity depends on more affordable housing

Published 8:24 am Thursday, March 5, 2020

When it comes to making an area livable, some requirements are non-negotiable. People want good jobs, good schools, safe streets, short commutes, leisure-time options and affordable housing. It’s that last item that is becoming more difficult to check off in central Ohio.

For starters, what is affordable to some may be wildly out of reach to others. Low-income families that spend more than half of their income to keep a roof over their head face an estimated shortage of 54,000 housing units lacking to fill their needs.

The Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio has a plan to tackle that gap with a combination of new home construction, existing home repair and assistance for renters. With 20 members including Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, Community Shelter Board, Homeport and United Way of Central Ohio and others including area banks engaged in its Strategic Advisory Council, the alliance appears well positioned to make an impact.

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The alliance is focused on those at risk of becoming homeless and who struggle with poverty. These families cannot improve their circumstances without the kind of help the alliance and its partners are committed to offer to help shrink the housing gap at the low end of the affordable housing spectrum.

(…) It will take creative new approaches by private and public developers and lenders, continued collaboration among government and nonprofits, a little less NIMBYism and a little more tolerance for density to get central Ohio back on track to meet housing needs. This region’s continued prosperity depends on solving stubborn housing challenges.

— The Columbus Dispatch