WATCH: WCPO 9 special examines affordable housing in Tri-State

Posted: 5:00 AM, Apr 27, 2021
Updated: 2021-04-29 13:38:55-04

CINCINNATI — Affordable housing has long been an issue that community leaders, local governments and activists have grappled with in Greater Cincinnati.

In a new special spanning multiple broadcasts Tuesday, WCPO 9 looks at how people here have worked to solve this problem over the years.

Reporter Lucy May explains what affordable housing is, who qualifies and why its shortage affects everyone. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), which has studied the Tri-State’s affordable housing shortage, explains how it hurts families across the region, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation explains why it’s pushing for more units.

How can we solve Cincinnati's affordable housing problem?

Reporter Mariel Carbone breaks down Issue Three, a proposed charter amendment which would mandate $50 million be allocated annually to an affordable housing trust. While some say it would be a milestone in affordable housing investment, some city leaders say it could hurt its budget and limit emergency services as a result.

Issue 3: Backers laud affordable housing proposal while critics worry of budget impact

May also reports on another local solution to the affordable housing crisis. Price Hill Will helps low-income renters through its homesteading program, and one family explains how it helped them become proud homeowners.

Price Hill Will's homesteading program

Reporter Monique John details how the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation’s purchase of the Alexandra Apartments saved the affordability status for about 85 elderly and disabled residents living there.

Alexandra Apartments keeps affordable housing status

May also reports on the efforts of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, the agency in charge of government-subsidized housing in Hamilton County. It also leads the federal housing choice voucher program, commonly known as Section 8. The agency says there are 15,000 people on the waitlist for properties CMHA owns and operates.

What's the difference between subsidized housing and affordable housing?

Episcopal Retirement Services, which operates about 30 affordable communities in the Tri-State, serves roughly 2,500 people per year. The organization leaders told May the need for affordable housing is ageless, though the region is in “a critical state” when it comes to affordable housing.

Why affordable housing problem is ageless

WCPO 9 Anchor Kristyn Hartman speaks with LISC executive director Kristen Baker about how many affordable housing units Cincinnati needs.

How many affordable housing units does Cincinnati need?

UC economics professor Michael Jones also discusses why Cincinnati's 28,000 housing unit shortage is an over-estimate. That’s important when the issue on the ballot asks Cincinnati to fix the shortfall with $50 million tax payer dollars a year in November in the form of Issue 3.

UC professor: Cincy's affordable housing unit shortage is an over-estimate

Hartman also dives deeper into where the money to fund the proposed affordable housing trust would come from.

How would Cincinnati fund $50M affordable housing proposal?

WCPO continued the conversation with a Facebook live with reporters Lucy May and Mariel Carbone.

What is Issue 3?

Watch WCPO 9's special coverage on your favorite streaming device.