COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — If you have watched the luxury apartment complexes popping up all over downtown Columbus, you might be surprised to learn that central Ohio is in the midst of a housing shortage.
It’s estimated that Columbus needs at least 54,000 more housing units and more of them need to be affordable. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is making that a key part of his agenda this year. He sat down with NBC4’s Colleen Marshall to talk about that and his other plans ahead of the State of the City address.
“The state of the city is very strong and optimistic and bullish about our future,” Ginther said. “[We have] the fastest growing economy in the Midwest, lowest unemployment in decades, a triple-A bond rating from all three rating agencies, but we’re not satisfied because not every family and every neighborhood is sharing in our success yet.”
Ginther plans to change that by focusing on affordable housing. In May, voters will get to decide on an affordable housing bond issue for the first time in the city’s history.
“My hope is that our suburban neighbors will help join this effort,” he said. “Affordable housing isn’t just the city’s responsibility.”
Ginther went on to say that if the city grows by a third over the next two decades, the housing shortage will only grow. He said his administration is also directing developers to make 20 percent of their housing projects affordable or make a significant investment to the affordable housing projects in order to get the incentives they have received in the past.
“They’re reaching out to non-profit housing developers to work on affordable housing,” he said.
Housing isn’t the only challenge facing Ginther. He will also need to select a new chief for the Columbus Division of Police.
“The people of Columbus deserve the very best, the officers deserve the very best,” he said. “We’re very excited for this process.”
Ginther said he is looking at both internal candidates and others from across the country to fill the position.