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Report: Cincinnati's housing inventory not keeping up demand

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Mar 29, 2022

CINCINNATI — As Cincinnati’s new city council focuses on creating more equitable housing city-wide, a new report breaks down how many newly constructed units of housing have been added over the last five years.

According to the report, which takes into consideration construction and demolition permits, 4,177 newly constructed units have been added city-wide between 2017 and 2021. However, 1,325 units have been lost to demolition during that same time. Putting the net increase of housing units through construction at 2,852 units.

When it comes to affordable units, the city has created or preserved 1,280 income-restricted affordable housing units over the last five years.

“This report is really a confirmation of what we’ve been hearing around the nation and in this city,” said council member Reggie Harris, whose office requested the report. “We are really in short supply of housing, of all types. Single-family starter homes to multi-family.”

The report also breaks down where construction and demolition have happened by neighborhood.

A majority of the new units have been constructed in CUF, with 736 units constructed between 2017 and 2021. Madisonville, Mt. Auburn, Downtown and Oakley follow closely behind.

More than a dozen city neighborhoods have seen zero newly constructed units including Winton Hills, West Price Hill, Queensgate, North Fairmont and Lower Price Hill.

“Eleven to 15 out of 52 neighborhoods have seen development,” Harris said. “The majority of the neighborhoods in our city haven’t seen any new construction in a year. That tells us a part of our strategy and our housing plan and our plan to grow equitably has to be robust and comprehensive and include all 52 neighborhoods.”

Of the 1,280 new or preserved affordable units, 74% are at 60% area median income. Just 7% are at 50% AMI. While 14% or 184 units, are at 80% AMI.

“1,200 is not a lot in five years,” said Miranda Horsley, who lives in the West End. "1,200 is not a lot for two years — especially with how bad the homeless situation is."

Horsley said she knows the struggle of finding a place to live firsthand. She previously struggled with homelessness, but now has a place of her own at the Arts Apartments. She said it wasn’t easy to find a place to live in Cincinnati.

“It’s hard out here, it really is,” Horsley said. “There’s definitely not enough (affordable housing). There may be units throughout the city, but they are very hard to find. If you don’t know the right people or you don’t know where to look, you aren’t going to find that place.”

Horsley said she hopes the report will help encourage city leaders to build more affordable housing city-wide. But, she knows the housing supply issue won’t be an easy problem to fix.

“I feel hopeful, yes, but on the journey that I came, that I had to take to get to my housing, I feel like it’s a long ways away for it to be fixed,” she said. “I do feel like the city is starting to listen. Maybe next year we can have another 300 housing units to add on to that 1200. Just progression is all I care about.”

Harris said the report will be a resource as the city decides how to spend money in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

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