When it comes to affordable housing, seeing is believing. We recently proved this again at two events in Medina County and Columbus, where state elected officials could see for themselves how the housing programs they fund make a real, positive impact on the lives of their constituents.
The Franklin Station roundtable and Menwa tour are just two of the many events COHHIO helps coordinate with local agencies and elected officials to highlight effective solutions to homelessness and housing insecurity. If you are interested in hosting an event at your agency, please contact COHHIO Advocacy Director Gina Wilt.
Menwa Apartments: Weeks after voting to expand the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, Senate President Larry Obhof joined COHHIO staff and local officials at an event at the Menwa Apartments in Wadsworth to discuss housing insecurity in Ohio.
Rep. Steve Hambley (R-Brunswick) and Rep. Darrell Kick (R-Loudonville) also took part in the roundtable discussion hosted by Skip Sipos, executive director of the Medina Metropolitan Housing Authority, which manages the Menwa Apartments, an affordable housing development for seniors.
Sipos said a $690,000 grant from the Ohio Housing Trust Fund helped fund a major renovation of the Menwa Apartments in 2016 that preserved 70 units of affordable housing in the area through a partnership with CHN Housing Partners.
Sen. Obhof (R-Medina) said the OHTF increase was one of several investments the legislature included in the budget to strengthen vulnerable Ohioans, including increased funding for children’s services and early childhood education.
The OHTF increase made sense given the fact that 16 years have passed without any change to the recorder fees that generate its revenue. “They’ve taken a hit in recent years,” he said during the event, noting that inflation over the years has significantly reduced the Housing Trust Fund’s purchasing power.
COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith said the OHTF amendment in state budget will generate roughly $3 million more for local homeless and affordable housing agencies each year moving forward.
Faith also thanked legislators for agreeing to Gov. DeWine’s request for an additional $5 million appropriation for the Ohio Department of Health to address homelessness among youth and pregnant women.
“These are two very positive, concrete steps to begin reversing the increase in homelessness and expanding the supply of affordable housing in Ohio,” Faith said, noting that young children are the fastest growing part of the 70,000 people in the state’s homeless system.
Tackling housing insecurity will also position Ohio to better address rising health care costs, infant mortality, child welfare, education and other issues, Faith said. “We look forward to working with the governor and legislative leaders to build on this progress in the future.”
Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corporation, told the legislators that affordable housing was essential for fostering a healthy economy in Medina County.
The Menwa Apartments roundtable was one of many events COHHIO helps coordinate with local agencies and elected officials to highlight effective solutions to homelessness and housing insecurity. If you are interested in hosting an event at your agency, please contact COHHIO Advocacy Director Gina Wilt.
More information: Medina Gazette, Roundtable Tackles Homelessness, Aug. 2, 2019
Franklin Station: The YMCA of Central Ohio and its partners provide Permanent Supportive Housing and supportive services at Franklin Station for 100 adults with disabilities and individuals who have experienced homelessness.
Sen. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) and Rep. Mary Lightbody (D-Westerville) joined an all-star panel that included Hal Keller, President & CEO Emeritus of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Bill Faith, Executive Director of COHHIO; Michelle Heritage, Executive Director of the Community Shelter Board; and Sue Darby, Executive Director of the Downtown YMCA. During the event, experts and stakeholders provided context and insight about Franklin Station and the affordable housing shortage in Ohio.
Colleen, a Franklin Station resident, shared her moving experience with finally finding a home after over five years of living on the streets. She said she had never imagined she would become homeless, but when she lost her job everything spiraled out of hand. Now she is doing well and is the lead volunteer at the on-site food pantry.
Franklin Station is one of many projects that illustrate the public private partnerships, which really make positive outcomes possible for people struggling to overcome homelessness.