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Efforts Underway to Craft a Housing Strategy for Cincinnati (OH)

Monday, May 06, 2019

Efforts Underway to Craft a Housing Strategy for Cincinnati

"Could Hamilton County’s thousands of vacant lots and homes help solve the area’s affordable housing shortage? That’s one idea groups launching an effort to draw up an overall housing strategy for Greater Cincinnati are looking into.

Local Initiatives Supporting Communities Greater Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Legal Aid, the Port and others are compiling data and public input to design a series of recommendations that could guide policymakers as they seek to address the big gap in affordable housing in the county.

Cincinnati hasn't had an overall housing strategy since the 1980s, LISC Greater Cincinnati Executive Director Kathy Schwab says — something potential funders ask about when the subject of funding solutions to the region's housing problem comes up.

“For people living in poverty, where they live and where they work are fundamental,” GCF Vice President of Community Strategies Harold Brown told Cincinnati City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee today. “So we embrace quality affordable housing as a real focus point in our work. We give lots of grants for folks who are doing great work in the housing space… but what we notice is that they’re very disjointed. There is great work going on in isolated pockets. Everyone is asking what’s the strategy, what’s the overarching plan for improving this issue in our community? And frankly, there isn’t one.”

Housing is affordable when residents living it spend no more than one-third of their income on rent or mortgage and associated costs like utilities. Currently, Cincinnati needs roughly 30,000 more units affordable to low-and-moderate income residents. The county overall needs about 40,000 units, according to a study LISC completed in 2017..."

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