City leaders announce largest-ever affordable housing commitment ahead of Issue 3 vote

The one-time investment was touted as the largest in Cincinnati history.

City leaders announce ‘generational’ investment in affordable housing ahead of Issue 3 vote

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A week before Cincinnati voters decide on a contentious affordable housing charter amendment, Cincinnati leaders took to Over-the-Rhine on Wednesday to announce an historic investment in affordable housing.

Mayor John Cranley, City Council member Greg Landsmann and City Manager Paula Boggs Muething made the announcement on Liberty Street beside a topped-out apartment building, part of 3CDC’s Willkommen project, with the Liberty & Elm development just a block away.

Cranley touted the $35.5 million fund as the city’s largest-ever one-time commitment to affordable housing.

“It’s a huge breakthrough,” Landsman said.

The fund will use public dollars to support affordable housing development. Most of the money will come from a $34 million HUD loan, with the rest coming from the city’s existing affordable housing trust fund and, potentially, available American Rescue Act funds.

A parallel fundraising campaign could raise an additional $30 million from private sources, for a total commitment of $65.5 million.

The Cincinnati Development Fund will manage the fund in partnership with the city. CDF will loan the money out to developers looking to create affordable housing, whether through infill or rehab projects.

The city will create a public board to establish priorities for the money.

Said Boggs Muething, “We recognize the importance of safe, decent affordable housing for all Cincinnatians. While we must continue to work to expand economic opportunities for our citizens, we can also ensure that people have equality [of] housing choice by making low-cost capital available so that financing quality affordable housing is more attractive.”

The CDF-managed fund is unrelated to Issue 3, the affordable housing charter amendment.

Critics of Issue 3, which does not specify a funding source, say the amendment’s $50 million yearly contribution to affordable housing would rob money from important public services, such as fire and police.

Supporters say the argument is a canard that gives those already against affordable housing a permission structure for opposing the amendment.

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