$100M fund will target affordable housing outside Franklin County
A new fund has been set up to build more affordable housing in Greater Columbus counties surronding Franklin County, with the goal of raising $100 million. So far, $60 million has been raised.
The Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County will be administering the new Regional Impact Fund. It hosted an event Monday morning at the site of a new 84-unit apartment complex to be built in Delaware County just north of Lazelle Road and east of Sancus Boulevard on Columbus’ Far North Side.
“Housing is not a Franklin County issue. Housing is a regional issue,” said Lark Mallory, the Affordable Housing Trust’s president and CEO.
NP Limited Partnership, a local company, is building the $15-million, three-story building and is the first to apply for financing from the fund. Franz Geiger, NP Limited managing partner, said the location is good for more apartments because it is so close to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s sprawling McCoy Center, and because so many others work in the Polaris area.
Bob Weiler, the local developer and chairman of the Robert Weiler Co. who leads the Affordable Housing Trust board, told the crowd at the event that building apartments on the site didn’t make financial sense until now with this fund.
Most of the apartments will be available to households making up to 80% of the area median income. That’s about $55,550 for a one-person household or $71,450 for a three-person household.
The new fund will provide financing for new homes in Delaware, Licking, Fairfield, Pickaway, Madison, Union and Knox counties.
Community leaders said more affordable housing and more homes in general are needed to keep up with growth and to make sure the region stays economically competitive. William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, reminded the crowd the region is expected to grow by another 700,000 residents by 2050, reaching a population of 3.1 million.
Ronald Todd, chief of social impact and community for the Ohio Department of Development, said, “We’re preparing our region for the next Intel, the next Honda.”
Investors in the new fund include CareSource, Crane Group, First Financial, Huntington National Bank, KeyBank, Licking County Housing Investment Fund LLC, Nationwide, Ohio Capital Finance Corporation, Park National, PNC Bank, and the Ohio Department of Development. The federal Community Revinvestment Act encourges banks to serve low- and-moderate income neighborhoods, with federal regulators evaluating financial institutions periodically.
The new effort mirrors the earlier one in Franklin County that the Affordable Housing Trust has managed. In 2019, business and community leaders said they were putting $100 million into a new Housing Action Fund toward building more affordable housing in Franklin County. The money was for low-cost loans for for-profit and nonprofit developers would committed to certain affordability requirements for rental housing.
That fund was to help create 2,150 units of affordable housing. All of the rents were to be affordable to households making up to 120% of the county’s area median income − now about $83,400 for a one-person household and $107,040 for a three-person household − with at least 51% of those units affordable to households earning 80% of the area median income.