By Kelly Carr
The Cincinnati City Council unanimously passed landmark legislation authorizing the City Administration to establish an innovative partnership with Cincinnati Development Fund that will make available $35.5 million dollars in public funding to support the development of affordable housing. The City’s largest-ever one-time investment in affordable housing is a historic step in promoting housing affordability in our region.
It is achieved through a collaborative approach that maximizes impact by leveraging industry expertise and partnerships, engaging private funding partners, and deploying federal and state funding and incentives.
Through a corresponding fundraising campaign, the City’s public investment will be leveraged to attract additional private resources, with a goal of raising $30 million dollars in private funding. The majority of the public funding will be raised by using the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) entitlement to secure a loan of up to $34 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program.
The remainder of the identified public funding will come from previous appropriations to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Supplemental public funds may be appropriated through an additional affordable housing allocation from the federal government’s American Recovery Plan.
Cincinnati Development Fund, a nonprofit lending institution known as a Community Development Finance Institution, will deploy these dollars as a revolving loan fund to provide low- interest debt financing for affordable housing development or rehabilitation.
A public board — consisting of members with affordable housing development and finance expertise — will be appointed by the Mayor and approved by City Council to establish the City’s affordable housing policy priorities. This establishes a responsible funding policy; it does not sacrifice public safety or basic services. The funding policy demonstrates the City’s commitment to addressing the decades-old issue of housing affordability by marshaling the resources of the entire city and region toward a solution.