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Cincinnati announces more money for 'Affordable Housing Trust Fund'

20,000 affordable units needed
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Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 23:37:11-05

CINCINNATI — City leaders announced new revenue sources to fund the Affordable Housing Trust Fund on Thursday.

“This is a landmark day for the city of Cincinnati, the first time the city has allocated substantial and consistence revenues towards affordable housing,” said Mayor Aftab Pureval.

According to the Mayor, the city will allocate $5 million from the American Rescue Plan fiscal year 2021 to the trust fund. That money was originally allocated to cover costs related to the fire department. However, after more guidance was provided by the federal government, city administration learned the money could not be used for that purpose. An additional $15 million in private funding will also be added to the fund, bringing the total amount of money in the fund to $57 million.

Currently, the trust fund includes $37 million. A majority of that, $34 million, is grant money from HUD. An additional $2 million was allocated by past city councils. And, the developers of the Elm and Liberty project contributed $750,000.

Pureval said the Cincinnati Development Fund will be tasked with managing the trust fund.

“The city is moving forward on housing its trust fund with the Cincinnati Development Fund, an experienced community development funding agency with the tools and expertise to leverage our dollars and tens of millions of private dollars into a fund of funds. This will provide a one-stop-shop for developers to apply for the gap funding needed,” he said.

According to Kristen Baker, Executive Director of LISC, roughly 20,000 units of affordable housing are needed across Hamilton County. She said it’s an issue that spans across the community.

“Our research showed four of the five most frequently occurring jobs in Hamilton County don’t pay enough to afford rent on a two-bedroom apartment. A median rent, which is about $835,” she said. “So when you think about that four of five jobs, that’s all of us, right? That is a tremendous number of folks.”

Baker explained that it is often a challenge for developers to pursue affordable housing projects.

“Affordable housing developments always have a math financing problem. There’s never enough revenue provided by rent to be able to cover the expenses of building and creating affordable housing," she said. "The trust fund dollars help the projects be able to get to completion because they serve as filling a gap.”

Additionally, Mayor Pureval said the city will consider an ordinance requiring the city to allocate a minimum of $1 million annually to the trust fund.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund is made up of loans, grants and other incentives intended to help develop and preserve affordable housing.