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$14M will subsidize 450+ affordable housing units in Hamilton County

Home construction
Josh Olalde

$14 million in federal stimulus funding has been approved to subsidize affordable housing in Hamilton County.

Commission President Alicia Reece says the need for affordable housing is high and officials are working to meet that need.

"We're not talking about it, we're doing it," Reece said. "Public, private, nonprofit, all hands on deck."

The money will support a total of 552 new and preserved units of housing. The majority will be income-restricted to households making 65% or less of the Area Median Income, or about $62,000 a year for a family of four.

Commissioners tasked the Cincinnati Development Fund (CDF) with managing the money. CDF is already managing Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Trust Fund and several other similar accounts with private funding sources.

CDF considered 30 applications and selected 17 for this first round of grants, out of a total fund of $31.8 million. The first units are expected to be available by the end of 2024.

RELATED: Hamilton County gives $33.5M to the affordable housing 'fund of funds'

Chief Strategy Officer Luke Blocher says they intentionally chose "shovel-ready" projects.

"Many of the projects on the list have been delayed for up to a year or more as their gaps grew, and they face the risk of losing existing funding commitments," Blocher said "Others are staring down the barrel of a year or more searching for funds to fill their construction gaps. This process and these awards means those projects happen now — that housing gets built."

The awarded projects include 10 Cincinnati neighborhoods, including Northside, Over-the-Rhine, Walnut Hills, College Hill, West End, and Lower Price Hill. And 24% of the units will be outside Cincinnati in Delhi, Cheviot, Colerain, Lockland, Mt. Healthy, Springfield Township, Reading, and Lincoln Heights.

See a full list of awarded projects below (story continues after):

The largest award is for $2.7 million for Vandalia Point in Northside. Nonprofit developer Over-the-Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH) and for-profit developer Urban Sites are working together on the project.

RELATED: Grant applications now open for $32 million for affordable housing developments

Ben Eilerman with OTRCH says the $18.8 million development would not go forward without this new grant.

"We've gone to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, who awarded us 9% tax credits; we've gone to the city of Cincinnati, who's awarded us HOME funding; and we've gone to our investors and community partners; private philanthropic dollars have come into this project. But that simply was not enough."

Sixty-five of the housing units are single-family homes, something the Board of Commissioners specifically requested. One project is for just one single-family home in the West End, with a grant for $150,000. Blocher says they're working with the small developer to build capacity for bigger housing projects.

Some projects also meet Commissioners' request for housing specific to certain populations: seniors, people with disabilities, and people leaving incarceration.

About $17.8 million is still in the fund and CDF is accepting applications for new projects on a rolling basis.

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.