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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.

Hamilton Co. Accepting Applications For Affordable Housing Funding Help

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Hamilton County is now accepting applications for immediate funding for affordable housing projects. Joy Pierson, community development administrator, says many projects are on hold because construction costs have increased so much.

"It's hard to find lumber, it's hard to find electrical supplies," Pierson said. "There's a lot of change in demand and supply due to the pandemic."

The county will award a total of $1.5 million to developments that haven't already received county funding.

Projects are eligible for $50,000 per residential unit, up to $500,000, in forgivable loans. Most of the rental units must be for very low-income households: those making about $51,000 a year or less for a family of four.

Homeowner housing projects can be awarded a short-term, no interest construction loan.

Pierson says the grants are designed for projects already underway and facing delays due to increased construction costs.

"The projects are all currently under construction or ready to close, so it's not like folks are starting from scratch," she said.

The majority of the available funds are $1 million from the 2021 general fund, which county commissioners set aside for affordable housing projects. $150,000 is available from prior year HOME Investment Partnerships, a HUD-funded program, and $350,000 from 2021 HOME funds.

The application deadline is June 23. The Community Development Advisory Committee will score the applications and recommend funding decisions by July 9.

Federal data shows nearly 43,000 low-income households in Hamilton County are cost burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of income on housing. That includes more than 9,000 households spending more than half of their income on housing.