By Anthony B. Johnson
Cincinnati City Councilmember Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney filed a motion on Friday, March 12, asking the City Administration to prepare and deliver a report on the feasibility of depositing a total of $50 million from the American Rescue Plan into the City of Cincinnati’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund immediately upon receipt of such funds from the federal government.
It has been determined that Cincinnati is lacking an estimated 28,000 affordable housing units. In an attempt to remedy this shortage, the City of Cincinnati established an Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2018 with $700,000 from the proceeds from the sale of the Norfolk Railroad. The amount currently allocated toward the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is insufficient to meet the demand for affordable housing in the City of Cincinnati.
The City of Cincinnati has been selected to receive $290 million in new local government funding from the American Rescue Plan, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that was signed into law this week. A report on Kearney’s proposal is necessary in order to ensure that the City Administration is afforded the opportunity to analyze the American Rescue Plan statute and make any necessary recommendations as cities await for the U.S. Treasury Department to issue new guidance and requirements related to how American Rescue Plan funding is eligible to be used.
Kearney’s motion is separate from and unrelated to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund Charter Amendment. The motion will appear on the Council Calendar during the Wednesday, March 17, meeting for referral to a particular committee of City Council to which the report will be delivered upon completion.