Housing Insecurity in Ohio – Let’s understand it, recognize it, and solve it.
Housing insecurity exists all around us. In Ohio, and across the United States, rents are rising and a record number of working families are barely scraping by, unable to afford a safe place to call home. Families who lack a safe, stable affordable home can’t reach the essential first rung on the ladder of opportunity.
For example, in Cuyahoga County alone, more than 66,000 renter families are housing insecure, including more than 23,400 working single-parent households that, on average, have only $33.46 per month left for all other living costs once they pay rent and utilities.
Housing insecurity is solvable. The solution for housing insecurity starts when homes are affordable and available to low-income families. The solution can be found in markets where affordable housing is growing to offer healthy, well-designed and sustainable homes connected to good schools, jobs, health care, transit and services.
At Enterprise Ohio, we work with partners to create and advocate for affordable homes in thriving communities linked to good schools, jobs, transit and health care. We lend and grant funds, provide technical assistance, finance development and manage and build affordable housing, while shaping new strategies, solutions and policy.
Following are the programs and initiatives that are working to eliminate housing insecurity in Ohio.
Community Revitalization and Opportunity
Lead innovative sustainable/green initiatives; continue to develop the capacity of affordable housing developers and policymakers across Ohio to build green affordable homes; advance neighborhood-scale climate and sustainability agenda through community and CDC engagement.
Enterprise Ohio has supported the creation of more than 5,000 sustainable, healthy affordable homes through the partnership of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and Enterprise Green Communities.
Affordable Housing Production and Preservation
Move toward ending housing insecurity through technical assistance to top partners and A to Z investment in new affordable housing, housing preservation, and neighborhood stabilization through equity and debt: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, New Markets Tax Credits, Bellwether Enterprise and Enterprise Community Loan Fund.
- Enterprise Ohio has invested over $609 million in Ohio, creating over 14,700 affordable homes.
- To date, Enterprise Ohio has successfully placed over $80 million in New Markets Tax Credits in Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati to support local economic development.
Ending Chronic Homelessness – Lead the Housing First Initiative to create sufficient permanent supportive housing to end chronic homelessness in Cuyahoga County among chronically homeless single adults, families and young adults; build capacity within the delivery system; and develop resources for the future.
Together with our partners, Cleveland Housing Network, EDEN, Inc., and FrontLine Service we continue to provide quality housing connected to supportive services. Through pilot programs that focus on families and young adults and the integration of on-site primary health care through a Mobile Health Clinic, we are ensuring the success of Housing First residents.
Since the first building opened in 2006, Housing First has created 710 apartments for single adults that are occupied or underway and 115 scattered site apartments for families and young adults. Chronic homelessness has dropped 77 percent.
Partnering for Family Success Program - Cuyahoga County launched the Partnering for Family Success Program, the first family homelessness and child welfare PFS project in the nation. The Partnering for Family Success Program launched in early 2015, with Enterprise Ohio playing two key roles: Project Manager and Fiscal Agent. This program aims to reduce the length of stay in out-of-home foster care placement for children whose caregivers are homeless or housing insecure.
Income and Opportunity
Provide free income tax preparation and access to financial education and asset building programs by leading the Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition to bring financial stability to consumers and create economic benefit to the community. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a vital tool for low- and moderate-income families that closes the gap between low-wage earnings and what a family needs to cover basic costs such as rent and utilities.
Annually, the Cuyahoga EITC Coalition provides oversight for 25 free tax preparation sites in low-income neighborhoods, trains 350 volunteers, and helps over 15,000 families annually, resulting in over $23 million in refunds. Since 2005, over $142 million in refunds have been returned to the local economy by preparing over 102,000 federal tax returns.
Provide technical assistance that enable partners throughout the state to maintain long-term sustainability and remain strong stewards of affordable housing. We support increased production capacity of select partners and encourage innovation in programs and culture. Enterprise Ohio works closely with partners to create opportunities linked to jobs, good schools, health care and transportation in our low-income communities through innovative capital deployment.
State and Local Policy
Craft and advocate for policies to end housing insecurity. These policies seek to advance quality, affordable housing solutions and promote opportunity locally and across the state. Enterprise Ohio executes a broad policy agenda and directs city, county, and state advocacy efforts with elected leaders, government officials and cross-sectors partners of all types. Through our leadership in strategic advocacy and partner convenings, we draw attention to the problem of housing insecurity and elevate solutions while protecting and establishing dedicated revenue sources to support affordable housing and developing comprehensive state and local plans for housing policy.We approach our state and local policy work by building broad coalitions and serving as a trusted policy expert on housing and community development.
We approach our state and local policy work by building broad coalitions and serving as a trusted policy expert on housing and community development.
The Enterprise Ohio team is proud of its efforts to combat chronic homelessness and create opportunity in our communities. However, we must continue to develop new, innovative solutions that prevent people from becoming housing insecure in the first place. That means we must ensure there is enough stable, affordable housing available for every family, regardless of income, zip code or any other factor. With enough resources and support from public and private partners throughout the region, we can get there.