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Ginther: $1.5 billion bond package will go before Columbus voters this November

Columbus residents will vote on the $1.5 billion bond package in the general election on Nov. 8.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mayor Andrew Ginther announced that a portion of the $1.5 billion bond package that will go before Columbus voters in November would address central Ohio's housing crisis.

Ginther and several community leaders outlined a plan for a proposed $200 million affordable housing bond on Monday. According to a release, the bond is aimed at helping households making less than $50,000 a year.

“Central Ohio’s housing crisis is not a Columbus problem; it’s a regional problem,” said Ginther. “By banding together with our private-sector and suburban partners to build new affordable rental units, preserve existing affordability, subsidize permanently affordable homeownership and prioritize housing stability programs that prevent homelessness, we can ensure that our city and region will continue to grow and thrive in ways that are truly equitable and sustainable.”

The $200 million portion of the proposed bond package is Columbus’ contribution to the Columbus Housing Strategy.

Funds would be invested in four priorities:

  • $80 million for the construction of affordable rental units
  • $50 million for affordable homeownership
  • $40 million to preserve existing housing affordability
  • $30 million for programs and permanent housing for individuals and families experiencing homelessness

In 2019, more than 1,300 affordable housing units were built after a $50 million affordable housing bond was approved.

Finance Committee Chair Elizabeth Brown said, “The 2019 package paved the way for $50 million in sorely needed investments in housing in the yearly capital budgets that followed. But if we’re to ensure every resident has housing they can afford, we must double down on these investments for the long term.”

If the majority of Columbus voters approve the bond, funding will allow the City of Columbus to continue work with Central Ohio Community Land Trust and other regional partners to increase affordable housing opportunities to middle-class families and those of color.

According to the mayor's office, the funds would also "provide investment in permanent supportive housing and other resources to stabilize families at risk of falling into homelessness."

“Columbus’ affordable housing crisis is real, and the need for affordable housing is greater than ever. However, we cannot discuss solutions without acknowledging the role systemic racism has played in restricting Black and Brown homeownership,” said Councilmember Shayla D. Favor. “Equity that families have in their homes is the main source of wealth for middle-class Americans. 

"Becoming a Black homeowner is more than just owning a home. It is laying a foundation for building generational wealth and creating family stability and financial security. The reality is, there is no silver bullet to fix the problem of affordable housing, however, the proposed housing bond package is one of the tools we have to start making positive change and adding more affordable housing to our community.”

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