Editor’s Note: This article is the third in a series on how Build Back Better Act funds will help public housing authorities better serve their residents and communities.
The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority’s (CMHA) housing stock has an average age of more than 70 years. CMHA is also located in a county where studies have found that more than 20,000 affordable housing units are needed. The Build Back Better (BBB) bill will mean significant improvements can be made to the current housing stock, including energy efficient upgrades to all mechanical systems and renovation of family units. Bringing CMHA’s existing public housing properties up-to-date will instill a sense of pride in the public housing authority’s communities.
While CMHA has begun transforming its housing stock, the bill could mean future renovations happen more quickly. CMHA is also in the process of developing new senior housing and a Scholar House modeled after communities in Columbus and Louisville. The additional funding from the bill could mean those developments are up and running for families in need of housing more quickly. It could also mean more specialty housing for families--CMHA is currently the only local provider that offers housing dedicated solely for people with disabilities, and an influx of funds like those included in BBB could further increase these kinds of crucial housing opportunities.
CMHA is also a Choice Neighborhoods Initiative Planning Grant winner for its proposed transformation of its West End neighborhood. BBB funds could greatly help with the revitalization of this community, which has already seen some growth with the addition of a Major League Soccer Stadium. BBB funds could help improve the housing stock in Cincinnati’s West End and enable existing residents to remain in this central neighborhood as it inevitably gentrifies.
In order to increase housing opportunities for area low-income families, CMHA is invested in recruiting quality property owners to partner with the agency in providing affordable housing. Funding for landlord incentives and expansion of the Housing Choice Voucher program will make a significant impact.