Homeport’s plans to renovate low income rental apartments for seniors and families in North-Central Columbus will be advancing this spring thanks to a $590,000 low interest loan from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati.
Audience Asked To Increase Support Of Organization’s Mission
More than 400 people gathered recently in downtown Columbus to celebrate Homeport’s 27 years as a leader in affordable housing – and to recognize the challenges ahead.
“Whatever you did this year, do a little more next year,” said U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty.
Speakers praised Homeport for its affordable home ownership and rental opportunities, foreclosure prevention counseling and homebuyer education, as well as on-site educational and after-school programs for resident children.
“A child’s future should not be determined by zip code,” said Joe Gilligan, Central Ohio office director for U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown. “That’s why the work Homeport does is so important.”
The program, held Oct. 16 at event venue “The Vault,” was underwritten with the support of Homeport donors. Chairman of the Homeport board, Thomas O’Hara, offered greetings to the audience. Appearing on a video, Jeff Hastings, president of U.S. Bank’s Central Ohio operations, urged participants to join Homeport’s special donor program known as the “Army of 1000.”
The audience watched our feature video [see top of page] that featured residents of Homeport. A senior citizen spoke of how a moderate income Homeport community enabled him to care of his failing wife. A single mom spoke to her dream of raising her 10-year-old daughter in a safe, single-family home. Another woman spoke to how Homeport helped her avoid foreclosure.
The special evening was highlighted by a report from Homeport President/CEO Amy Klaben on the Homeport communities housing 5300 people, half of whom are children, and the programs and services critical to their stability and long term success.
“We are helping to break the cycle of poverty,” Klaben said. “We are creating a new future for so many families in our beautiful city. Because of what you have done over the past year, this is possible.”
But, more needs to be done in creating educational empowerment, neighborhood revitalization and safe, decent affordable homes, she said.
“Please join me as we re-double our efforts, explore new areas, and do the things that are hard to do. Join us in making a difference, because Home Matters. As John F. Kennedy said about going to the moon, ‘We do these things…not because they are easy, but because they are hard. These are the things that measure the best of us.’”
Brownsville, Texas, sits high in the rankings where cities want to come in low. It's the poorest city in America, with 36 percent of its residents living in poverty. (By contrast, the poverty level in the nation's richest city, San Jose, California, is 10.8 percent.) It has among the country's highest rates of diabetes and obesity, conditions that are estimated to affect up to half the local population. Other cities in Texas' Rio Grande Valley don't fare much better: McAllen, 60 miles to the west, is second-poorest in the nation.
This part of South Texas is known for its colonias, neighborhoods that developers conjured out of worthless land back in the 1950s to sell in small lots to poor, mostly Hispanic buyers, sometimes with false promises of improvements to come. There are about 1,800 colonias in Texas, and many still lack basic infrastructure like paved roads and sewage.
Lots has been written about how high health care costs in the US are, and how mediocre outcomes are relative to those high costs. The American Health Care Paradox: Why Spending More Is Getting Us Lessoffers a new way of looking at the issue.
Health reform efforts have emphasized health insurance and medicine, sidelining social service programs like nutritional support and housing assistance — programs that can be influential for keeping people healthy andproducing health, instead of just reacting when people fall ill, like the health care system often does.
Ignoring the social side of health is a problem, and it's a problem that's been plaguing the United States for decades.
Elizabeth Bradley, a professor at Yale University, and Lauren Taylor, a Presidential Scholar at Harvard Divinity School, examined this at length in their book. I spoke with the authors about the issues they see in the current system, what lessons we might draw from other nations, and what policymakers should think about next.
What follows is a transcript of our conversation, edited for clarity and length.
The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority has received a nearly $30 million federal grant that will help transform the site of a former public-housing complex and the surrounding Near East Side neighborhood.
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, made the announcement today at the site of the now-demolished Poindexter Village along N. Champion Avenue.
HOME OWNERSHIP + NEIGHBORHOODS. They are inextricably linked. When considering buying a home, regardless of whether you are a first-time home buyer, or a second or third-time home buyer, we all ask the same questions: “What’s the price?” “What does it look like?” And of course, “Where’s it located?”, also known as, the neighborhood. Generally, buying a home is a very personal decision, centered on the needs of the family and personal preference. For some, a home must have a dishwasher, but for others it is the yard that is the selling point. Beyond this though, you could also look at home ownership from the community perspective. As a home owner, you are choosing a neighborhood to become a part of.
Consider what that means. Neighborhoods are made up of people, therefore the decisions individuals make about how they interact in their neighborhoods makes a direct impact – for good or for bad. What does it mean to you when people litter in front of your home? How do simple smiles and a warm hello affect the feel of your street? Your decisions define the neighborhood. And truthfully, these questions are not just for home owners. Whether you are renting or buying, we all make up neighborhoods – each of us as individuals – and you have the power to make your neighborhood better.
Here at Homeport, our vision is that every person lives in a vibrant community where they are empowered to dream and shape their future. That is why we strive to create homes people can afford in communities like these. So, how will you contribute as a part of the neighborhood? Are you going to participate in the neighborhood clean-up, join in with the annual block party, or attend the civic/resident association meeting? I know what you are thinking, “When am I going to have time for that?” A few hours a month can go a long way towards enhancing your relationship with your neighbors and the improving the community.
Director of Home Ownership
Take the leap! Get involved! For your efforts, you will be rewarded with a strong, vibrant neighborhood that you call home.
In just a few months it may get a little easier to find affordable housing in downtown Austin.
Capitol Studios will be the first affordable housing community built downtown in 45 years. Affordable housing management company Foundation Communities already operates 14 properties in Austin. Evan Johns credits them with helping him get his life together.
"I wouldn't have anything, probably still be drinking too," said Johns who lives at a Foundation Communities property.
Before moving into an affordable housing community, Johns was homeless because he couldn't stop drinking. After getting out of rehab, Johns didn't have anywhere to go.
"I also couldn't afford to live in the city anymore," said Johns.
Spend too much or too little on housing and a child’s cognitive performance suffers
“Families spending about 30 percent of their income on housing had children with the best cognitive outcomes,” said Newman, who is also director of the university’s Center on Housing, Neighborhoods and Communities. “It’s worse when you pay too little and worse when you pay too much.”
Homeport is working to make sure an affordable home is available to families throughout Central Ohio.
FOR SOME, 14 IS A TIME OF UNGUARDED EMOTION AND ENTHUSIASM. FOR OTHERS, IT'S AN ABRUPT INTRODUCTION INTO A COMPLEX WORLD
Introduction by Managing Editor Laura Trujillo: On March 21, 14-year-old Jashawn Martin was shot as he passed by a fight on his way to see a friend. Eight days later – a day after she attended Jashawn's funeral – 14-year-old Tyann Adkins was shot to death as she waited to get her nails done. The boy who shot her was 14, as was the boy who called 911 and tried to save her. Not long after, a 14-year-old was part of a robbery at DeSales Market in Walnut Hills that left a father of two begging for his life.
In the newsroom, we routinely deal with crime – shootings and robberies, death and grief. But somehow these violent episodes crept into our heads and we couldn't get them out.
It was the number 14.
Medical professionals are now looking “upstream” to determine, based on research, how to improve children’s health through housing, Dr. Megan Sandel, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine, told attendees at the ULI Housing Opportunity conference held May 14-16 in Denver.
“We have a new understanding of the interplay of how housing influences health in terms of stability, quality, and the effect on physical and mental health,” said Sandel, who is also principal investigator for Boston-based Children’s HealthWatch, a research and policy organization that focuses on how to alleviate insecurities around hunger, housing, and energy, especially for young children. Hardships are interconnected, Sandel noted, and a family that struggles to pay the rent also struggles to put healthy food on the table and keep the heat and lights on.