By Bruce Luecke
In the past six months you may have heard of many of our initiatives to meet the community’s needs for affordable and workforce housing. If it looks like we are all over the map – we are. The demand is from Grove City to Linden, from Reynoldsburg to Hilliard, and everything in-between.
Snapshot: Construction is about to start on a 28-unit apartment building in Grove City and we are underway on 30 apartments across from Blacklick Woods Metro Park in Reynoldsburg. We have also have received development approvals for Linden, East Franklinton, and Whitehall.
And yet, and yet … the numbers are still daunting when it comes to need.
Three years ago, the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio determined 54,000 families in our area were spending at least 50 percent of their income on housing. Today, with our growing population – No. 2 in Ohio after Metro Cincinnati – the number of families struggling to pay rent is undoubtedly higher.
So how are we and other organizations working to advance the cause?
Homeport continues to develop relationships, from outreach to residents in neighborhoods where we would build, to finding partners who know the need and our track record.
For example, the decade long revival of the historic American Addition community off Joyce Avenue in Northeast Columbus will continue with 14 new homes slated for construction and sale in 2019. The homes are priced at about $120,000 thanks to a construction subsidy from the City of Columbus.
On the Near East Side, on and near Mount Vernon Avenue, Homeport will build 12 single family homes with funding support from the City of Columbus and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority. We will partner with the Central Ohio Community Land Trust for the development of these homes which means when the homes are re-sold in the future they will remain affordable in price.ds
In Whitehall, we wait to see if the Ohio Housing Finance Agency allocates Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) for a 32-unit second phase of our Hamilton Crossing senior community – where there is a two-year wait for becoming a resident. Also we are in pre-development of a four-story, 102-apartment building nearby for individuals making up to 100 percent of the area median income, $53,500 for a single person to $76,400 for a family of four.
And in East Franklinton, Homeport has plans to build a four-story, 50-apartment building at State and McDowell. Thanks to an agreement with Kaufman Development, 60 parking spots would be made available at the nearby Gravity II parking garage on West Broad Street.
Placing workers close to their jobs, meeting the growing population of seniors, redevelopment of older neighborhoods and helping suburban communities address affordable housing shortfalls is keeping Homeport busy. These are exciting times – and what we anticipate is the new normal, where we solve challenges with creativity and willing partners.
(Bruce Luecke is President & CEO of Homeport)