New program to support diversity and affordable housing in Columbus, Ohio

Building a new pipeline of developers from underrepresented backgrounds could help solve the affordable housing crisis in central Ohio, local leaders say.

What is happening: A new loan program to help minority developers build more homes — especially women and people of color — launched yesterday through the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County.

  • The Emerging Developers Accelerator program is funded by a $10 million investment, half from the city and half from the county. JPMorgan Chase donated $150,000 to fund an educational component.

Why is this important: Participants will complete 12 courses over six months covering all aspects of development, from acquiring sites to understanding zoning rules and working with architects, contractors and lenders.

  • Upon completion, developers can take out loans from the $10 million pot, giving them access to enough capital to take out larger loans and fund projects.
  • They will also receive mentorship from industry experts.

By the numbers: According to a 2020 report, only 28% of Urban Land Institute members nationally are women and only 5% are black — an issue that officials say is also true at the local level.

  • And while our booming region needs to build 14,000 to 21,000 homes a year to keep up with population growth, we’re only averaging around 8,000, according to a 2018 study by the Building Industry Association of Central. Ohio.

What they say : “I’m saying to the powers that be, ‘It’s time for you to spin,'” US Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge said during yesterday’s announcement.

  • “It’s time to make room for others…so new people can learn.”

The context: Fudge, of northeast Ohio, announced several federal initiatives Monday to build affordable housing in Columbus.

And after: The Housing Trust is now accepting applications for the Accelerator Program on its website.

  • The goal is to start the first classes in late summer with a class of about a dozen developers, says chairman and CEO Lark Mallory.

Meanwhile, The city is poised to place a $150 million bond issue on the November ballot to continue meeting affordable housing needs, Mayor Andrew Ginther reiterated during the announcement.

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