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Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Trust Fund now has a dedicated revenue source

cincinnati city hall
Jason Whitman

Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Trust Fund has a dedicated revenue source for the first time. On Wednesday, Council unanimously approved Mayor Aftab Pureval's plan to use excess revenue at the end of each fiscal year.

"This change will put a projected one- to two-and-a-half-million dollars annually into the trust fund, with the potential to rise to as much as $5 million over time," Pureval said.

The updated policy still requires most excess revenue go into several reserve funds. The change adds another two buckets to the bottom of the surplus "waterfall," which stipulates certain percentages of carryover funds for specific priorities.

Cincinnati year-end surplus graphic
Courtesy: Mayor Pureval's Office
Cincinnati's current "stabilization policy" allows for council to allocate 33% of year-end surplus to one-time uses. Pureval's proposed amendment dedicates much of that surplus to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Unfunded Pension Obligations instead.

The other "bucket" is to put funding toward the city's Unfunded Pension Obligation — up to $2 million a year. A Council committee initially delayed a vote on the measure last week, with some members saying they wanted even more to go into that fund. But it passed through council this week without any amendments.

The city's fiscal year ends in June. Surplus revenue is typically dealt with in September.

The change is part of Mayor Aftab Pureval's plan to bring the housing fund up to $57 million. Last week, Council approved two other elements: a one-time deposit of $5 million in the trust fund, and an expansion to a Housing Advisory Board that was created by the last administration but never utilized.

Council established the housing fund nearly four years ago, but it's never had a dedicated revenue source and has never been used as intended: to provide gap financing to incentivize affordable housing development.