Columbus MHA Board approves nearly $100 million to develop and preserve more than 700 units of mixed-income housing for seniors and families through the use of general revenue bonds project-based vouchers and new acquisitions

Date Published: 
February 12th, 2024

From the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority's press release:

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) Board of Commissioners today approved a combined total of nearly $100 million in new investments that will develop or preserve more than 700 apartments for Columbus-area seniors, families and people with disabilities.

“This major investment represents CMHA’s continuing commitment to provide affordable housing and meet the needs of our neighbors in Columbus and throughout Franklin County,” said CMHA Board Chair James L. Ervin Jr. “We remain dedicated to our values of community, commitment, and collaboration. CMHA will continue to leverage all our resources to find innovative paths to help meet the region’s evolving housing needs."

The community investments approved by CMHA’s Board include:

  • River and Rich (phase II): Authorizing the issuance and sale of $47.5 million in general revenue bonds to acquire, construct and equip an approximately 234-unit rental housing community with commercial space. Partners on this project include: Casto, The Robert Weiler Company, The Kelley Companies, and Mark Cain, of S. Cain Development and Construction.
  • Country Ridge: Issuing $17.5 million in general revenue bonds to renovate the 96-unit multifamily residential apartment complex at 5656 Farmhouse Lane in Hilliard.
  • Maplewood Heights Apartments & Sugar Grove Square Apartments: Issuing $25 million in general revenue bonds to renovate the 71-unit complex of one-bedroom apartments at 91 Maplewood Ave. in Westerville and the 120-unit complex of one-bedroom apartments at 530 S. State St. in Whitehall. These apartment complexes serve senior families and provide comprehensive support services.
  • Southpoint Place – Family & Singles: Investing $9 million to renew CMHA's Project-Based Vouchers (PBVs) through 2039 for residents of the 40-unit family complex of two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments and 15 single-unit apartments, which also receive comprehensive support services.
  • Nelson Park Apartments: Acquiring and renovating the 172-unit multifamily community. Partners on this project include Renewal Housing Associates, LLC, and The Orlean Company. Financial details will be released pending final authorization of the terms.

The $90 million bond plan and $9 million allocation of PBVs is part of CMHA’s long-term strategy to grow investment in the region’s housing stock and to more effectively address central Ohio’s housing shortage, agency officials said. The additional $90 million in bonds will bring CMHA’s total bond issuance to more than $171 million for the development and preservation of affordable housing. This was spurred by the A+ rating the authority received from S&P Global Ratings.

S&P is considered the largest of the three major credit rating agencies, which also include Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. The A+ rating was secured after extensive third-party reviews and reporting from CMHA’s finance team.

“Our S&P A+ rating will significantly reduce the agency’s cost of financing by providing access to the bond markets,” CMHA CEO Charles D. Hillman said. “These factors create a self-sustaining model that will assist us in delivering on our strategic goal of adding to our portfolio a minimum of 500 units of housing per year over each of the next five years.”

CMHA’s PBV program is part of the federal Housing Choice Voucher program administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Families or individuals in units with PBVs contribute 30% of their income for rent and utilities. The voucher pays the difference between the tenant contribution and the unit’s total rent and utility costs. Tenants in PBV units are assisted as long as they live in the unit and continue to qualify for the program.

PBVs are the largest, most available tool to create new project-based rental assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan research and policy institute that works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

Data from the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio (AHACO) shows only 29 affordable housing units are available for every 100 extremely low-income households in the Columbus and Franklin County area. AHACO estimates 54,000 low- and moderate-income households in Franklin County pay more than half their income toward housing costs. Central Ohio also faces a deficit of 11,000 to 14,000 new housing units every year to support a healthy housing market.

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