Addressing Our Housing Challenges Together

Home: A place of residence or refuge. A vital component to thrive, it’s increasingly beyond the reach of too many of our neighbors. In our metro area, a household must earn $17 per hour to afford a fair market rate two-bedroom apartment. Even with the increase of the Ohio minimum wage this year to $8.70, that translates to a single mother working two full-time minimum wage jobs to house her family. Adding to her challenge is the significant lack of affordable housing in Greater Cincinnati — we need more than 40,000 units, a number which continues to grow. It’s not a sustainable model for maximizing the potential of all our residents, and the burden is higher for both black renters and homeowners.

Affordable housing is a complex challenge that requires the commitment of all our community stakeholders. In alignment with our racial equity mission, Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is advancing specific investments as well as systemic change. The dividend will be a stronger and more economically robust region for everyone.

The Affordable Housing Impact Investment Pool (AHIIP) is GCF’s strategy to shape a key piece of the larger puzzle. We’ve invested $1 million toward the $5 million targeted fund size to help bridge the affordable housing gap. The pool will be flexible and responsive to the projects it funds, including supporting home ownership options for low-income families, rental opportunities to build renters’ equity accounts and increasing the supply of high-quality rental units. Partnering with the Cincinnati Development Fund, we expect to grant the first loans from the fund this spring.

Join us in participating in AHIIP through your donor advised fund with a minimum investment of $10,000. AHIIP, open now, has a guaranteed return of 1 percent and carries up to a five-year term. You can also make a philanthropic gift to the fund; please contact your philanthropic advisor for further information. All contributions will be deployed on an ongoing basis to support a wide range of affordable housing initiatives.

On the systemic front, GCF has helped fund a broad collaboration of stakeholders — the Community-Wide Housing Strategy (CWHS) Committee — to generate a holistic affordable housing plan that leverages collective capacity. The strategy is to guide both philanthropic dollars and municipal policy to the greatest outcomes.

The CWHS Committee includes LISC Greater Cincinnati, City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County governments, The Port, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, nonprofit housing organizations and developers. Its highly anticipated report, due to be released within the next few weeks, will focus on:

  • Access to home ownership
  •  New housing production
  • Affordable rental preservation
  • Policy and zoning issues
  • Financing and resources

GCF is eager to learn from and implement the committee’s recommendations. We are grateful for your support to be able to sponsor this transformative work.