City Funding Proposed For Affordable Housing

May 26, 2016

OTR Community Housing president Mary Burke Rivers says city funding would increase affordable housing in Over-the-Rhine.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The mayor wants to spend $4 million to help finance affordable housing projects around the city. 

Half of that money would go to projects in Over-the-Rhine, where Cranley says the problem has changed from too much low income housing to not enough.

Vice Mayor David Mann says one identified project, in the 1500 block of Race, would renovate 25 apartments, next door to where brand new condos are going up.

"In this city, 50 percent of renters pay 30 percent or more of their incomes to maintain their apartments," Mann says. "That is very challenging. And that's why I'm so excited that we are making this effort."

Mary Burke Rivers of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing says the lack of affordable housing seems to be simple on the surface.

"People who are working in our city, people who are retired, veterans, can't afford to pay what the market provides in housing," she says. "It's simple math. And somehow it's gotten very complicated. So what this money does is it helps to address that simple math. 

Mayor John Cranley announced his latest neighborhood economic development packages Thursday morning in Over-the-Rhine, where he says it's important to have a mixed-income community.

New condos are under construction on Race Street, next to a building that could hold 25 renovated, affordable apartments.
Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU

In the plan, the city's money would go toward a plan to renovate 300 affordable housing units and build another 200 market rate units in Over-the-Rhine. The plan was developed by 3CDC and a developer, the Model Group.

Bobby Maly is chief operating officer of the Model Group and says

"Having a place that has people of all incomes, types, and color, living immediately adjacent to each other… working and playing in the same blocks, it's not the case in all cities in all neighborhoods," says Bobby Maly, chief operating officer of the Model Group. "That's something special that we have and it's something special that Cincinnati has."

The city would use the other $2 million with developers and community partners in Cincinnati's other 51 neighborhoods.

The $4 million plan does need the approval of council as part of an overall city budget that must be passed by June 30. Cranley says he plans to submit his budget to council either Friday or Tuesday.