'Turning Up The Volume'

Bruce Luecke outside a Homeport house under construction in Milo-Grogan.

Bruce Luecke outside a Homeport house under construction in Milo-Grogan.

More Home Building, Resident Services, Employee Training In 2018

By Bruce Luecke

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If you recently drove down St. Clair near Fifth in Milo Grogan you would have heard whirring drills and pounding hammers echoing off future homes. Further east in Whitehall, trucks and cars could be heard delivering personal items for seniors moving into a new three-story apartment building.

In both instances, the “noise” from 33 homes in Milo and 64 apartments at our newly opened Hamilton Crossing in Whitehall was music to our ears. And it is our goal to be even louder in 2018.

Columbus and Central Ohio continues to grow, and with it a demand for both affordable and workforce housing. It will be done by ourselves and with partners, both with or without Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the longtime funding workhorse of our industry.

Closing the gap in the affordable housing shortfall remains our No. 1 strategic objective. The year 2018 should bring construction of 30 apartments in Reynoldsburg and nine houses in American Addition where the city of Columbus has invested millions in infrastructure. There are also plans in the works for two other non-tax credit funded developments. We have been active talking to developers to do things together.

Besides construction, we intend on doubling down on services we provide our more than 5,700 residents in now 33 communities throughout Central Ohio.

Resident services enhance the chances of family, financial and community stability. It leads to jobs, better health and improved economic conditions as well as financial education. It is an area that separates us from other home providers.

In 2018, we expect to add Boys & Girls Clubs of Columbus afterschool programming at our Georges Creek community, offer discounted YMCA family memberships, and survey the health needs of our residents with support from Ohio State’s colleges of public health and social work.

Residents who attended a NeighborWorks national community leadership institute conference in 2017 will be leading efforts in 2018 to bring residents together from their Duxberry Landing and Marsh Run communities.

To enhance the likelihood of success in building homes and resident services, we must be a high-performing, financially strong organization. That means investing in functional training and leadership skills of our employees. Bottom line: we want to be a great place to work and unlike many non-profits, we have the means to make it happen.

Join us in the mission of creating affordable and workforce housing. At the end of day, we are staying on focus. What we are doing is turning up the volume.

(Bruce Luecke is President & CEO of Homeport)