Peer-to-Peer Learning among Advocates
Parts of Ohio have experienced skyrocketing rent prices and mortgage payments, but cities across the state run the gamut of market conditions. What is consistent across Ohio is a growth in seniors, minorities, and people in poverty. Vulnerable groups, especially seniors and low-income renters and owners, experience the greatest need for affordable and accessible housing.
The Affordable Housing Learning Exchange exists to cross-pollinate strategies for the preservation and expansion of available and accessible affordable housing throughout Ohio. Local practitioners from remarkably different regions approached GOPC to facilitate and steward a peer-learning forum in 2018. Meeting quarterly, Exchange members are sharing local strategies and discovering similar challenges between each other, despite differences in market strength and population size. Exchange members represent metropolitan housing authorities, community development intermediaries and technical assistance providers, Habitat for Humanity and affordable housing developers.
Local Problems, Local Actions
The regions involved in the Learning Exchange present clear goals and intended measures of success to support and expand access to affordable housing. Inclusion in the Affordable Housing Learning Exchange is based on activity occurring at the local level with the intent to preserve and increase access to, or the supply of, affordable housing within a region. The efforts of the locality must have goals and intended measures of success which can be communicated to members of the Exchange. There must also be evidence of coalition-building among multiple partners in the region, i.e. housing goals cannot have originated from and be carried out solely by one partner. Additionally, the location must have demonstrated cross-sector collaborative efforts outside of the nonprofit sphere, working with either city/county government, or the private sector to accomplish their housing goals. The Learning Exchange provides an arena to communicate local challenges and opportunities and compare best-practice strategies.
Cross-Sector, Coalition Building
Affordable Housing Learning Exchange members exemplify an approach of coalition-building between multiple partners in their regions, incorporating landlords, funders, and the public sector in order to achieve shared housing goals. The Learning Exchange extends this spirit of collaboration across regions, providing members with cultivated strategies to create new funding mechanisms and communicate with stakeholders to stabilize communities and create neighborhoods of choice across Ohio.
GOPC Research on Affordable Housing Needs
Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) develops and advances policies and practices that value our urban cores and metropolitan regions as economic drivers and preserve Ohio’s open space and farmland. GOPC has focused on the particular needs of smaller legacy cities and its research into successful revitalization strategies informed the policies laid out in the vision document above.
With Central Ohio’s population growing at a substantial rate and wages not keeping up with increasing rent prices, affordable housing is harder to come by for renters in the region. Between 2009 and 2014, median rents went up by almost twice the rate of median household incomes. In this report, published by the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, GOPC delivered robust research of viable models that could support existing work and improve affordable housing opportunities for residents in Columbus.