Port Shorts: Affordable Housing Part 2
One of the most dominant conversations in the Cincinnati region involves a basic human need, housing.
Add in the layer of what's considered affordable housing, and the conversation becomes more complex.
Elected officials, housing advocates, and developers all agree on one thing: there is an affordable housing shortage in Hamilton County. In Part I of our series on affordable housing, we examined how The Port, the City, and the County are working to provide solutions to the region’s housing issues.
The Port recently spoke with residents and nonprofit leaders to better understand how the affordable housing deficit affects neighborhoods.
I definitely feel there is a lack of affordable housing. Had we not had this house, we can't afford rent in this region." - Rachel Smith, Price Hill Resident
Cincinnati saw some of the highest rent increases in the country, with a 28% increase in 2022.
I actually went to a home viewing with a client last year, and so many people showed up to this one house, there was literally a fist fight in front of the house. Literally a fist fight, because there is such a shortage of housing, so people are literally fighting, trying to see properties, so they can get a place to live with their children." - Rachel Smith, Price Hill Resident
There is clearly high demand for affordable housing stock. Availability and access are the primary roadblocks.
In January 2022, The Port closed on a portfolio acquisition of 194 single-family homes to help address availability AND access to affordable homeownership.
The initiative, known as the CARE Homes, has a top priority to create homeownership opportunities through compassion, patience, partnership, and financial stewardship training.
The Port intends to work directly with the current tenants, all of whom are renting, to understand each of the families' goals regarding homeownership and will work with them to plan for and achieve their individual homeownership goals.
Our perfect world here is that the current renters become homeowners." - Laura Brunner, President & CEO, The Port
This mission-centered approach would not be possible without a multitude of nonprofit partners and agencies walking lockstep to make it happen.
In addition to the CARE Homes initiative, The Port is working with nonprofits across the region, supporting additional strategies to address the challenges of availability and access.
Habitat for Humanity has been building homes in Cincinnati for more than 30 years to deliver on its vision to create a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Its efforts to improve the quality of housing for residents of the region has put countless new homes on the map. And the impact of each home is life-changing for the new homeowner.
"The fun thing for me when we experience a new homeowner in their home for the first time is to watch the kids. [They] run around with absolute glee, excitement and joy and talk about their room. "This is mine," and then they'll talk about what colors they're going to paint and what their bed is going to look like because they've not had those opportunities to be free and express themselves in a rental situation." - Ed Lee, President & CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati
As the demand for new Habitat homes grows, still more is needed to help close the gap on housing options in the region.
City of Cincinnati Councilman Reggie Harris is working on a Housing Summit to bring all parties to the table to develop a comprehensive solution to the region’s housing needs.
The purpose of the Housing Summit is to create a space and an opportunity for everyone that is involved in the city to come together for a space of shared education and shared vision setting." Reggie Harris, City of Cincinnati Councilmember
Organization by organization, effort by effort, one new homeowner at a time, The Port and its partners are collectively working to knock down the barriers to creating generational wealth through new pathways to homeownership, one home and one family at a time.