Cincinnati Projects Awarded Tax Credits for Affordable Housing

Funded projects include new affordable housing in Over-the-Rhine, permanent supportive housing in Roselawn and renovation of two apartment buildings in Millvale

May 16, 2019 at 3:09 pm
click to enlarge Historic buildings in OTR that will be renovated in part with federal low-income housing tax credits - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Historic buildings in OTR that will be renovated in part with federal low-income housing tax credits

Cincinnati will get millions in federal tax credits to preserve and build new affordable housing, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced May 15.

A new affordable housing effort in Over-the-Rhine, permanent supportive housing in Roselawn and two apartment buildings in Millvale will receive the credits, which can be leveraged for private investment in projects that are required to remain affordable for at least 30 years.

In total, OHFA will disburse more than $28 million in credits in the coming year to 34 projects across the state creating roughly 2,200 units of housing. Seven projects in Franklin County and three projects in Cuyahoga County also scored funding.

The agency received a total of 10 applications for the housing credits from developers in Hamilton County — an increase from recent years, when applications from Cincinnati developers lagged those in other parts of the state. The agency received 92 applications for a total of more than $80 million statewide, including 16 applications from Franklin County and 11 from Cuyahoga County.

The credits generally cover about 70 percent of the costs of housing construction. The city can sometimes help developers cover part of that gap with funds it doles out through the Notice of Funding Application process twice yearly. 

In addition, OHFA also issued $6.75 million in separate federal HOME grants to some projects that will help close funding gaps. Two of the Cincinnati projects will receive that funding.

A 32-unit project by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing and the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation at 1505-1517 Vine Street just south of Liberty Street in OTR will receive $576,000 in credits for family-centered affordable housing and another $600,000 in HOME funding. The project will include renovation of three historic buildings and construction of a new building on a currently vacant lot next door.

The neighborhood has lost 73 percent of its affordable housing options since 2000, according to a report by Xavier's Community Building Institute. 

Another project creating 58 units of permanent supportive housing in a former school building at 1579 Summit Ave. in Roselawn by Talbert Services will receive $870,000 in credits and $300,000 in HOME funds. Permanent supportive housing combines long-term affordable housing with social services including addiction treatment and medical care to address homelessness and struggles with disability and other health issues.

Two apartment buildings at 1990 and 2000 Westwood Northern Boulevard — including Shelton Gardens, a building once involved in a city lawsuit over its deteriorating conditions and charges of poor management — will receive $800,000 each in credits for renovation work by American Community Developers, Inc. that will preserve their status as affordable housing. The City of Cincinnati sued New Jersey-based PF Holdings over conditions at a number of its buildings in Cincinnati, including Shelton Gardens and The Alms in Walnut Hills. Courts later ordered those buildings put into a receivership. They are now under new ownership.

A number of other Hamilton County projects did not receive funding this round, including ones in Lower Price Hill, Bond Hill, Walnut Hills, Pendleton and Mount Auburn among other neighborhoods. You can see the whole list of applicants here. 

"Our proposal to complete a substantial rehabilitation of the Property will address all of its urgent physical and social needs, modernize it, stabilize operations and vastly improve the residents' quality of life," the developer's application for tax credits states.

Hamilton County faces a roughly 40,000-unit gap in available housing units affordable at 30 percent of income for low-income residents, according to a report by the Greater Cincinnati Local Initiatives Support Corporation. 

“Nearly half of all renters pay more than a third of their income on housing,” OHFA Acting Executive Director Holly Holtzen said in a statement May 15. “Today’s award announcement is an important step toward tackling the growing affordability problem for Ohio’s renter households.”