COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As Columbus grapples with a major housing crisis, Mayor Andrew Ginther has announced his plan to reduce homelessness and increase affordable housing throughout the city.
“The city of Columbus will lead the way, by streamlining our codes, policies, and processes, so that units can be built without unnecessary costs and delay,” Ginther said during a press conference Monday.
The initiative is known as the Columbus Housing Strategy and consists of three key points, Ginther said: preserving existing housing affordability through city funds and other resources; investing in new housing through a $1.5 billion bond package, pending its support from voters in November; and including people of different racial and economic backgrounds to create diverse neighborhoods.
Ginther said he hopes the multi-pronged approach will entice local partners to further their commitments to combating the city’s housing shortage.
“Our housing scarcity is now a crisis, and today I’m calling on the public, private, non-profit sectors of our region, to address it, together,” he said.
One of those partners is Otto Beatty III, president of the Columbus-based Otto Beatty Real Estate, whose family has decades of service and activism within Columbus.
“This fall, we will be providing 36 new living units to the near east side,” Beatty said during the press conference.
The real estate company’s goal, Beatty said, is to not only end the housing shortage, but also to keep people in the community.
“Early interest has shown us that this is housing for people looking to remain in that neighborhood, return to that neighborhood or join that neighborhood,” Beatty said.
During the November general election, Columbus voters will be asked to approve a $1.5 billion bond package to expand affordable housing and finance capital improvements in the city — a measure the mayor’s office said will not increase taxes for local residents.