Fifth Third Bank and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing Helping Near East Side Homeowners

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Partners Achieving Community Transformation, or PACT, a partnership between Near East Side residents and the City of Columbus, The Ohio State University, and Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, has enlisted the help of Fifth Third Bank as it continues work to stabilize the Near East Side. 

New funding to complete exterior repairs of owner-occupied homes within the target area will come from a collaboration with Fifth-Third Bank and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH), with additional contributions from The Ohio State University and United Way of Central Ohio.   Over the next year, up to $10,000 will be granted to 20 individual homeowners for critical exterior home repairs.

Public and private entities, like OCCH, are investing considerable resources in rental housing for low-income and working families in the Near East Side – for example, Columbus Scholar House, Poindexter Place and Jenkins Terrace – investments that have gone a long way to meet the needs of vulnerable people, while setting the area on a positive change trajectory after periods of decline.  However, as property values rise throughout the city, homeownership – the primary driver of household wealth and stability – becomes especially important to preserve. 

The goal of this partnership is simple -- to ensure that long standing homeowners in the area, including families with children, elderly, persons living with disabilities, and households with low-incomes, have resources to complete badly-needed repairs to their homes.  “This is about making sure generations of homeowners that have been steadfast in their commitment to these neighborhoods get to share in the growth of the area,” said Hal Keller President of OCCH.

Amidst repeated calls for more resources to support the development and construction of more affordable rental housing, such as project and tenant based subsidies or development subsidies like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Keller reminds us that the largest inventory of affordable homes in our communities are in fact homes owned and lived in by everyday people. 

In recent years, an increasing number of cities have developed similar initiatives, drawing from policy efforts to help combat what is often a fraught topic – gentrification.   “There’s a sense that we can do more here in Columbus,” Keller adds, “Certainly new rental housing is needed, but improving the homes of existing homeowners in the neighborhood is as important to the stabilizing and revitalizing the Near East Side.” 

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