Columbus MHA Board approves over $50 million in new investments to develop and preserve affordable housing for seniors and families

Date Published: 
July 26th, 2023

From the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority's press release:

The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) Board of Commissioners today approved a combined total of over $50 million in new investments that will add or preserve 278 apartments as affordable housing for seniors and or fixed-income Columbus-area residents.

“Today’s decision by the CMHA Board represents just the latest example of CMHA being laser-focused on providing affordable housing and meeting the needs of our people in Columbus and throughout Franklin County,” said CMHA Board Chair James L. Ervin, Jr. “Our goal is to ensure CMHA remains an innovative agent for change and continues to evolve to meet the region’s housing needs.”

The communities approved for new investments by CMHA’s board include:

  • Approving the issuance of $18 million in General Revenue Bonds for the new construction of Cobblestone Manor – a $32 million, 82-unit new construction development of affordable rental homes for low-income seniors in Grove City, Ohio.
  • Approving the issuance of $22 million in General Revenue Bonds for the redevelopment of Country Ridge Apartments, a 95-unit community that serves low-income individuals and families in Hilliard.
  • Approving an estimated $9.1 million, 10-year renewal of CMHA’s project-based voucher (PBVs) contract with its nonprofit partner Housing Ventures, Inc., to ensure 75 PBV’s at Sugar Grove Square Apartments in Westerville will continue to remain affordable through 2033.
  • Approving an estimated $3.1 million, 10-year renewal of CMHA’s project-based voucher contract with its nonprofit partner National Church Residences to ensure 26 PBV’s at Westerville Senior Housing apartment complex will remain affordable through 2033.

CMHA’s plan to issue general revenue bonds this year was spurred by their A+ rating the authority received from S&P Global Ratings.

S&P is considered the largest of the three major credit rating agencies, which also include Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. The A+ rating was secured after extensive third-party reviews and reporting from CMHA’s finance team. CMHA’s $40 million bond plan this year is the fourth issuance in a long-term strategy that CMHA officials say will become an ongoing series of bonding activities for the agency moving forward. The additional $40 million in bonds approved at the June 23rd Board meeting will bring CMHA’s total bond issuance to over $110 million for the development and preservation of affordable housing.

“Our A+ S&P rating will significantly reduce the Agency’s cost of financing by providing access to the bond markets. These factors create a self-sustaining model that will assist us in delivering on our strategic goal of adding to our portfolio a minimum of 500 units of affordable housing per year over each of the next five years,” CMHA CEO Charles D. Hillman said.

The Project Based Voucher (PBV) program is part of HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.

Most Housing Choice Vouchers are “tenant-based,” meaning families can use them to rent any private apartment that meets program guidelines. PBVs, in contrast, are attached to a specific unit whose landlord contracts with the state or local public housing agency to rent to low-income families. Families can move without losing rental assistance if another voucher is available. If a family in a project-based voucher unit moves out, another low-income family moving in benefits from the rent subsidy it provides.

Families or individuals in units with PBVs contribute 30% of their income for rent and utilities; the voucher pays the difference between the tenant contribution and the unit’s total rent and utility costs. Tenants in PBV units are assisted as long as they live in the unit and continue to qualify for the program.

PBVs are the largest, most available tool to create new project-based rental assistance, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a nonpartisan research and policy institute which works at the federal and state levels on fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals.

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