Ribbon cut on first-of-its-kind affordable housing project in Price Hill

It could be the first of many.
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 7:49 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The long-awaited renovation of a Price Hill high-rise is officially complete, offering almost 200 units of quality, affordable housing to Cincinnati families.

Officials cut the ribbon on The Pinecrest Apartments on Wednesday. The nine-story, 190-unit complex hadn’t been updated since it was build more than 40 years ago.

“It’s really nice,” said Mark Propheter. “They really did a lot here.”

Propheter was on the brink of homelessness earlier this summer after his rent spiked. He was among the first wave of residents to move into The Pinecrest in late July.

Greeting him were new cabinets, closets, appliances, light fixtures, HVAC units and laminate flooring. CMHA also put in new laundry units and elevators. Rent, meanwhile, stays at 30 percent of the residents’ income.

“It’s like night and day,” Propheter said of the renovations.

The Pinecrest is the first project completed by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority using an Obama-era federal tool that opens public housing to private investment.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development touts its Rental Assistance Demonstration program as a long-term fix to affordable housing, which currently faces a $26 billion nationwide backlog of deferred maintenance.

The RAD program allows public housing authorities to convert public housing subsidies to Section 8 subsidies to attract private investment that can be used to fund long-overdue repairs and upkeep. The guarantee of future subsidies makes financing the projects easier across the board.

More than $250 million of the country’s deferred maintenance is managed by CMHA. At the same time, Hamilton County faces a lack of affordable housing numbering 25,000 units, according to county estimates.

CMHA and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners have made affordable housing a top priority.

“We know that rent is going up in different areas,” said Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “Not everybody can buy a house, so it continues to be a crisis. But the [board] is committed to solving some of that crisis.”

CMHA says Pinecrest is the first of many renovation projects to come. According to a CityBeat report, CMHA would eventually like all its 5,000 units to be included in the RAD program.

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