By Bruce Luecke
The past 90 days have been a highlight-reel for Homeport. Consider:
We dedicated Hamilton Crossing, a 64-unit senior housing community in Whitehall, in a ceremony attended by the residents, Mayor Kim Maggard and Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown.
We hosted U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson on a tour of one of 33 new Milo-Grogan homes we built this past year as well as our Elim Manor senior community in southeast Columbus.
And, heartwarmingly, we witnessed Joyce Mayne become a first-time home owner in time for her 75th birthday, purchasing a house she and her late husband Larry had been renting from Homeport since 2009.
“Oh wow. Just being here is just something I never dreamed,” Ms. Mayne said. “I never dreamed of owning something like this.”
Her story drew national headlines and a front door visit of congratulations from U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty.
And yet for all the positives, we aspire to do more – and do it faster.
The gap of 54,000 Central Ohio households paying 50 percent or more of their income demands it. It is why on Sept. 13 we held a retreat of our leadership team and Board members to hear from community leaders on where we are heading and consider tactics to be successful considering 30,000 people are moving here yearly.
While we adopted a new strategic plan only two years ago, reviewing priorities is good for us and sends a message that we are a dynamic organization; not static.
One panel dubbed “Community Outlook,” was moderated by Michael Wilkos, United Way of Central Ohio’s Senior Vice President of Community Impact.
A second panel, called “Economic Development,” was lead by William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Wilkos chaired the discussion with IMPACT CEO and new Homeport Board member Bo Chilton, United Schools Network Founder/CEO Andrew Boy, ETSS Executive Director Seleshi Ayalew Asfaw, Columbus Foundation Community Research and Grants Officer Matt Martin, and Fran Frazier, a nationally recognized community engagement consultant and educator and new Homeport Board member.
Murdock’s panel included Columbus REALTORS CEO Stan Collins, City of Columbus Department of Development Director Steve Schoeny, Franklin County Director of Economic Development and Planning James Schimmer and Mayor Maggard of Whitehall.
Tying a morning of discussions together for us was Dr. Tony Rucci of The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business and the architect of our strategic re-do from 2016.
We are committed to making a difference and have created an ad hoc committee of our Board to consider the retreat dialogue and ask the tough questions including whether we are using our resources, people, money, activities the right way.
Whatever happens, affordable housing remains our top priority. That we can safely say.
In the meantime, we remain grateful to those individuals and organizations who support us throughout the year, financially or through advice, counsel, direction and partnership.
If you have not already signed up, please click here and attend our Voice & Vision award celebration on Oct. 18. The program at St. Charles Preparatory School promises to be an excellent evening, including a special recognition of our honoree, Rev. John Edgar.
(Bruce Luecke is President & CEO of Homeport)