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3 affordable housing projects in Cincinnati win competitive tax credits

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Three housing projects in Cincinnati are getting more than $3 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits. LIHTC awards are very competitive and often make the difference between building a project or not. State officials announced the decision Friday.

Because of a recent change at Cincinnati Council, the developments will automatically get the maximum city tax abatement as well. Council Member Reggie Harris introduced the idea earlier this year.

"We know that there's no magic bullet to producing housing and especially to producing affordable housing," Harris said. "There are just a series of barrier removals, a series of efficiencies, a series of funding streams, that create sort of a collective process that hopefully will produce a large amount of housing."

Five total developments submitted applications for the LIHTC funding in 2022, the fewest in four years.

  • 2022: 5 applications (236 units), 3 awards (146 units)
  • 2021: 7 applications (347 units), 4 awards (198 units)
  • 2020: 9 applications (460 units), 5 awards (250 units)
  • 2019: 9 applications (678 units), 4 awards (341 units)

Harris says the pandemic and supply chain issues have made it even more difficult to build housing.
"It's not surprising to me that we've seen less of those applications, because you really use the current economic conditions to sort of project forward into the future," Harris said. "These are projects that were being conceptualized at the heart of the pandemic."

The projects chosen for LIHTC awards this year will create 146 new units of affordable housing:

  • 44 units for Dunlap Permanent Supportive Housing in Over-the-Rhine, for people who have experienced long term homelessness (will include on-site case management and supportive services)
  • 52 units for Vandalia Point in Northside, for families between 30% and 60% area median income (AMI)
  • 50 units for Victory Vistas in Paddock Hills, reserved for residents 55+ and between 30% and 60% AMI

Over-the-Rhine Community Housing is the developer for Dunlap PSH and Vandalia Point. Senior Project Manager Ben Eilerman says the tax credits will provide the majority of funding for both projects.
"That's such a key part of that funding that enables us to keep rents down and to make them affordable in the long term for those who so desperately need it," Eilerman said.

He says Council's recent change allowing automatic city tax abatements helps with both budget and timeline.

"Projects are just cost-burdened on so many fronts," Eilerman said. "The move by council allows us to have some certainty, which allows the closing process, allows our funders, to move more quickly towards getting these projects under construction."

The maximum city abatement for the projects is worth net 67% of property taxes for improvements to the site for 15 years; developers will pay 33% to Cincinnati Public Schools.

Three projects from last year's LIHTC awards will also benefit from council's change with an automatic abatement: Lincoln & Gilbert in Walnut Hills, Peebles Apartments in Walnut Hills, and The Barrister downtown.

State officials chose 31 projects across Ohio, including a few others in Greater Cincinnati:

  • 48 units for Pedretti Place in Delhi Township, for low-income seniors
  • 50 units for Germantown Crossing in Dayton, for federally-subsidized housing
  • 50 units for Greentree Village Apartments in Clermont County, preserving existing units built in 1979

The state received 76 applications requesting nearly $80 million in credits, with $31.9 million available to allocate. The total for southwest Ohio is about $6.5 million and nearly 300 units preserved or created.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.