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Columbus officials share proposals for a $200 million affordable housing bond package

mulbey progress linden.jpeg
Courtsey of Homeport
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Officials and community leaders met outside Mulby Place off Cleveland Avenue in Linden. The project has shown steady progress since developers at Homeport broke ground in early March.

Columbus city officials met in Linden Monday morning to share their plans on spending the proposed $200 million affordable housing bond package if voters pass it this fall.

It’s part of the $1.5 billion bond package that would address transportation, infrastructure and more.

The city says it will spend $80 million on new affordable housing units, $50 million to support affordable home ownership, $40 million on existing units, and the rest on families experiencing homelessness.

Council member and housing chair Shayla Favor, said the housing shortage threatens family stabilization, specifically those with low income and in marginalized communities.

“With this $200 million bond package, we can build new affordable rental units, preserve existing affordability, subside permanent affordable home ownership, undo historic racist practices and finally support programs to prevent homelessness,” Favor said.

Affordable housing developers at Homeport invited local leaders to provide details of their plans outside of Mulby Place in Linden.

Homeport used some of the $50 million in affordable housing bonds approved in 2019 to fund the Mulby Place project, which broke ground in March. The building will have up to 100 affordable senior living apartments and 3,000 square feet of retail space. Homeport is also building 10 single-family housing units nearby.

Leah Evans is president and CEO of Homeport.

“Across our city, rents are rising at an untenable pace,” Evans said. “People are being pushed out and left behind. And those with the least number of resources feel that pressure the most."

Homeport's next project is Easton Place Homes at 3475 Easton Square Place. It's a three-phase project on five acres of land. That land will be split to create lots for 200 affordable housing units in partnership with the Georgetown Company. It expects to break ground on Sept. 29.

The city needs to build 14,000 units per year to address current and future demands. Mayor Andrew Ginther says housing at all pay levels needs to be developed over the next decade.

“I'm calling on our region to double the number of units coming to market every year, for the next 15 years," Ginther said.

If passed, the city promises no tax increases to Columbus residents. Voters approved a $50 million affordable housing bond in 2019.

The $200 million would allow the city to continue its work with the Central Ohio Community Land Trust and other regional partners to expand affordable housing in the region.

Tyler Thompson is a reporter and on-air host for 89.7 NPR News. Thompson, originally from northeast Ohio, has spent the last three years working as a Morning Edition host and reporter at NPR member station KDLG Public Radio and reporter at the Bristol Bay Times Newspaper in Dillingham, Alaska.