But Why Aren’t You Building New Truly Affordable Housing Units?
COLUMBUS, OH – City of Columbus Mayoral candidate Joe Motil states, ”Today’s homeowner repair loan forgiveness by Mayor Ginther was just another election year staged media event. Due to the city handing out home repair grants to eligible recipients for some time now, it is only fair to those homeowner repair recipients who have been required with paying back their interest free loans to be given the same treatment. The earlier recipients should have been given grants in the first place.”
Motil continues, “Assistance with home repairs for seniors and those on fixed incomes is important. I have heard stories for years now how new residents who are purchasing tax abated luxury homes in desirable risk-free development urban neighborhoods are calling code enforcement officers on long time residents who cannot afford repairs. Along with escalating property taxes, this is just one more adverse impacts caused by gentrification.”
Motil says, “Our affordable housing crisis has been staring Ginther in the face for 7 years now. His 2019 $50 million affordable housing bond package built 1,300 affordable housing units and that bond money was depleted at the end of 2021. The city had no bond money to build affordable housing for the year 2022. At the same time, as a candidate for Columbus City Council in 2019, I proposed a $250 million affordable housing bond package that could have constructed at least 6,000 or more affordable housing units. Ginther’s lack of vision and understanding of this crisis is causing people to suffer.”
Motil continues, “And for nearly two years, Ginther has been sitting on $187 million of American Rescue Plan funds and has not allocated a dime of it to build one single affordable housing unit. This is unconscionable. For the last 21 months I have been advocating that the city and county both allocate $60 million of ARP funds and that the Columbus Partnership match the $60 million. This would create an immediate infusion of $180 million to build truly affordable housing for those with income of $39,000 and less. I have also proposed that the Affordable Housing Trust Fund’s share of hotel-motel tax be Increased from 8.43% to 25%. And that the Columbus Partnership create its own affordable housing trust fund. My Empty Homes Tax will also generate revenue to build affordable housing. And I too, have the affordable housing bond package at my disposal.”
Motil concludes, “It was recently reported that in 2021 and 2022, 36,500 evictions were filed and nearly 300 homeless people died during that time. The three most common occupations in Columbus pay less than $19 an hour and 76% of those individuals pay 50% or more of their income for housing. My affordable housing proposal addresses revenue sources to build more truly affordable housing. Ginther's does not. His tax abatements for campaign contributing luxury real estate developers, who in return, but are not required to provide 20% “set aside units” for those with incomes of $52,500 and $63,000 isn’t putting a dent in our affordable housing crisis. This November, the voters are not going to be fooled any longer by his campaign slogans, empty promises, and election year staged public events.”