The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), Franklin County, the City of Columbus, and regional partners – including the City of Delaware — are excited to lead the development of a coordinated housing strategy that will develop investment and policy recommendations to support mixed income neighborhoods and regional growth.
MORPC and its partners will announce Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a non-profit out of Washington, D.C., to serve as the lead consultant for the project. Enterprise brings their experience in housing policy and financing, equitable transit-oriented development, socioeconomic development, and fair housing. They have led similar activities in Denver, Charlotte, Tacoma, and other cities.
“As the city and region continue to grow, we must make sure that residents who work in the region can afford to live here, too. In May, voters resoundingly approved bond sales specifically to address affordable housing. This study will create a regional housing plan that will serve as a roadmap to a common-sense approach of how to expend funds and address the region’s housing needs,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
The team of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. includes local agencies Ice Miller, RAMA Consulting, and Vogt Strategic Insights. Ice Miller brings expertise in local government relations, public policy consultation, economic development, energy consultation, health care and insurance. RAMA Consulting, a certified minority business enterprise, brings their expertise in community and stakeholder engagement. Using their ECO-Engagement model, RAMA will involve stakeholders in meaningful solutions-based research and feedback processes. Vogt Strategic Insights, specialists in real estate market analysis, brings experience in conducting and reviewing more than 8,000 market analyses nationally for market-rate and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit apartments as well as studies for single-family, residential, office, retail, and elderly housing.
“As Central Ohio grows, now is the opportunity to get ahead of major challenges related to housing affordability that other regions our size are facing today,” says William Murdock, MORPC Executive Director. “That said, we must act quickly as studies over the last few years, the most recent coming from the BIA, show we are not keeping up with the need for housing.”
“The affordable housing challenge impacts every part of Central Ohio”, said Board of Commissioners President, Marilyn Brown. “A thriving community requires that the people who work there can also live there, so I’m excited that we’re taking so many big steps to improve access to desirable housing throughout Franklin County.”
The Regional Housing Study will assess the state of the housing market in the region and the data gaps that currently exist based on previous research; review and analyze the availability of public and private dollars to support housing development; identify structural impediments to housing developments; and conduct a national scan around investment policies and strategies to address housing affordability.
E.J. Thomas, chair of the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, said, “The Alliance report, The Affordable Housing Challenge, was instrumental in creating a sense of urgency about addressing the Columbus and Franklin County affordable housing gap. We are looking forward to our continued participation in the evolution to a regional policy discussion of the most effective ways to invest scarce housing resources.”
One of the fundamental elements of the plan will be recommendations on how to most effectively spend public and private dollars to ensure that housing is available at all price points, including funds generated by the City of Columbus’ $50 million housing bond package and the recently announced $100 million loan pool for the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County.
The housing plan will build on the work of the Affordable Housing Alliance, Franklin County’s poverty and economic development work, including the recent proposal to increase the county’s annual investment in affordable housing from $17 million to $24 million, the Building Industry Association of Central Ohio Housing Need Assessment, and the City’s 2018 Incentives Study.
“The challenge of affordable housing is one that is impacting every corner of Central Ohio,” said Councilmember Shayla Favor, Chair of the Housing Committee. “I look forward to working with the consultants, MORPC, and all of our regional partners to take a closer look at our needs as a community and develop viable solutions for all.”
The Regional Housing Study, funded by cities of Columbus, Dublin, Grove City, Lancaster, Whitehall, Upper Arlington, New Albany, Marysville, Delaware, and Westerville; Franklin, Union, and Licking counties; the Columbus Partnership, and The Columbus Foundation, is expected to be completed by spring 2020.