New Report Sheds Light on Local Affordable Housing Challenge

The Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio (AHACO) has released an in-depth report that documents and illuminates the affordable housing challenge facing Columbus and Franklin County.

The report finds that 54,000 of the county’s lowest-income residents pay more than half their income for housing. There is only one affordable rental housing unit for every three renters in poverty.

In 2016, a 16-member committee, chaired by Roberta Garber, with support from the Greater Ohio Policy Center, studied local affordable housing needs and resources and identified effective strategies implemented in other cities to expand affordable housing opportunities.

These notable findings reveal a multi-dimensional challenge:

  • Affordable housing needs are growing fastest among persons in poverty and seniors
  • Rents are increasing at twice the pace of incomes
  • Places that working people can afford to live are often located far from where jobs are being created
  • More than 18,000 evictions were recorded in 2015
  • Families using the shelter system went up 64% compared to 2011

How communities fund affordable housingThe report examines a range of funding mechanisms used by other cities to generate local affordable housing resources. In-depth case studies show how these methods could be applied or expanded locally for rental assistance, eviction prevention, home repair and modification, and new construction. 

Creating a stable foundation for the entire communityMembers of the Housing Alliance are meeting with policy makers, stakeholders, and business leaders to discuss how the ideas from the report can be implemented to reduce the affordable housing gap. The Housing Alliance will propose recommendations this spring for a comprehensive investment in affordable homes that will: 

  • Make the Columbus region a top-tier location to live, work, and create jobs
  • Reduce the number of poor families living in unstable and unaffordable homes
  • Enable employers to find and retain skilled workers
  • Allow seniors and persons with disabilities to stay in their homes, out of institutions
  • Reduce the use of costly public systems, such as hospitals and homeless shelters

Commenting on the report, Housing Alliance Chair E.J. Thomas said, “Solving our affordable housing challenge will take collaboration, commitment and creativity. The Housing Alliance is excited about the possibilities to work with community leaders to make home affordable for everyone in Franklin County.”

To join this conversation, or comment about the report, please contact Bobbie Garber, AHACO Loaned Executive, at