COHHIO Urges Expansion of Trust Fund

Good Morning Advocates!

Momentum builds to expand the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.

The need for increased support for housing has been well documented as Ohio struggles to adjust to the low-wage economy, persistent poverty, and a steadily decreasing amount of federal housing assistance.

During it's 25-year history, the OHTF has provided about $770 million for programs that serve the homeless, develop affordable housing, and fund critical repairs and upgrades that help keep seniors in their own homes. However need has outpaced available resources - OHTF funding has remained flat for 13 years and often falls short of the original $50 million/year goal because revenues decline just when the housing market slumps and the need for assistance rises.

Now is the time to make our case with state lawmakers about the necessity of expanding the Trust Fund to meet the need for affordable housing in Ohio.

Given the proven success of the Trust Fund over the past quarter century, COHHIO is calling for a significant expansion of the program to address homelessness and housing instability. Policymakers now have an opportunity to expand access to a safe, decent home for their constituents, while at the same time bolstering Ohio's economy through housing development and rehabilitation.

We need your help in meeting with your state lawmakers over the summer about the need for more housing resources. You can invite them out to summer events, board meetings or even staff meetings to view the new Ohio Housing Trust video that was shown at the COHHIO conference. The video is now posted on YouTube and on our Facebook page. More information about the OHTF is available on our website.

If you are willing to reach out to your legislator but need help in setting up an event, contact me at cathyjohnston (at) cohhio (dot) org or 614-2801984 x.125.

Thanks for your support to help us #BuildTheTrust!

Cathy Johnston

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.  NEOCH strongly supports the Ohio Housing Trust Fund for the 25 years of existence.

Ohio Housing Trust Fund in Jeopardy

One Housing Trust Fund vs. 88 New Bureaucracies:
Making the case against the Senate Amendment

The Senate Trust Fund amendment reads: “Requires that half of the fees collected by county recorders for the Housing Trust Fund to be retained by the county for the purpose of housing. Requires that the county auditor, recorder, and a county commissioner, or their delegates, determine by a majority vote how the funds will be used.”

Here are the primary reasons the state Trust Fund process is preferable to the county process the Senate amendment would create:

1) The Housing Trust Fund is administered by a single state agency with oversight by a 14-member advisory board and a 25-year solid track record of accountability. The amendment would establish 88 separate county administrative processes with elected officials, such as recorders and auditors, who may have little or no housing experience.

2) The Housing Trust Fund has statutory protections to ensure that funds are used for those with the greatest housing needs, such as: 10% of funds must be used to support homeless programs, including homeless youth; and there’s an overall preference for projects serving those at 35% of median income or below. The county process has no such protections.

3) Ohio Development Services Agency coordinates efforts with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to leverage the Housing Trust Fund with low-income tax credits and bond financing so that Trust Fund is leveraging dollars at a rate of 9/1. These types of leveraging opportunities would be rare at the county level.

4) The Housing Trust Fund has a statutory limit of 5% or less to be used for administration. The county program would create 88 separate county bureaucracies, each of which would require unspecified amounts of administrative funds to operate. In an era of scarce housing resources, this is an inappropriate use of public funds.

5) The Housing Trust Fund provides numerous opportunities to expand housing options for people in recovery, people with disabilities, and people in need of alternatives to institutional settings. These are done in partnership with other private and state agencies such as Medicaid, the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Department of Aging. With the county program those partnerships are greatly diminished.

6.) The Housing Trust Fund is currently of sufficient size that it is capable of leveraging resources from private and public sector sources, and funding several larger impactful housing developments projects each year. The proposed county-based approach would disperse funding, making it much more difficult to leverage funds for the larger, more impactful projects.

7) Housing Trust Fund dollars are awarded on a competitive basis to make sure projects using best practice with solid outcomes are funded first. While projects in all 88 counties can compete for the funds, to ensure funds have broad geographic distribution, there is a statutory requirement that at least 50% of the available resources be awarded to projects in rural parts of the state. This approach assures both fairness and quality in distributing the funds and makes the county process unnecessary.

The State Housing and Homeless Coalition is asking that you call your State Senator today to protest this horrible plan.  If you get a response let COHHIO know below.  To get the call in information to your senator go to the COHHIO website here.

Cathy Johnston
Advocacy Director, COHHIO
614-280-1984 X25
cathyjohnston (at) cohhio (dot) org

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry