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Affordable housing has become a hot-button issue in Greater Cincinnati over the last few years, garnering media attention, promises from elected officials and no small amount of debate. Here's everything you need to know about affordable housing in Cincinnati.

Affordable Housing, Upgrades Coming To West End Apartments

Courtesy of the City of Cincinnati
The Arts Apartments at Music Hall are located at 845 Ezzard Charles Drive.

The Arts Apartments at Music Hall in Cincinnati's gentrifying West End is in for renovations and changes that will result in nearly 250 affordable and low-income housing for the next 20 years.

City Council unanimously approved a tax exemption last week to help finance the project.

"I think all of us believe it particularly valuable to have affordable housing maintained and increased in ... a neighborhood that's gentrifying," Councilman David Mann said during a Budget and Finance Committee meeting. "That's an important part of making sure that the West End that we have in the future is one we can all feel proud of."

Developer BH New Arts, LP has partnered with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing on the project.

According to records, 83 units are currently affordable and 248 will be after the project is completed. No residents will pay more than 30% of their income on rent and prices will range from $615 - $966 per month. There will be 93 one-bedroom, 125 two-bedroom, and 30 three-bedroom units.

The developer is paying more than $11 million to upgrade the 21 buildings and units. Improvements include new roofing, windows, paint, exterior siding treatments, as well as new flooring, plumbing, kitchen fixtures, and heating and air conditioning.

The developer will get a 67%, 15-year Community Reinvestment Area tax exemption.

Councilman Chris Seelbach said during the committee meeting he's blown away by the addition of affordable housing units in the area, which is gentrifying because of the construction of the multi-million dollar Major League Soccer Stadium being built roughly a mile from The Arts Apartments at Music Hall.

"So this is a great step in the right direction and, as you know, so many people have asked us to focus more on diverse housing options," he said.

Jolene Almendarez is the granddaughter of Mexican immigrants who came to San Antonio in the 1960s. She was raised in a military family and has always called the city home. She studied journalism at San Antonio College and earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Public Communications from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She's been a reporter in San Antonio and Castroville, Texas, and in Syracuse and Ithaca, New York.