CMHA announces record-setting $134 million effort to provide more affordable housing opportunities for Columbus-area elderly, people with disabilities and low-income households

Largest-ever allocation of HUD-financed Project-Based Vouchers will support plans for 2021 and beyond for six CMHA nonprofit partners: National Church Residences, Community Housing Network, Homeport, Wallick Communities, Affordable Columbus Housing and Creative Housing

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) announced today a $134 million plan to award 20-year contracts to six Ohio-based nonprofit affordable housing providers for a record-setting combined total of 817 federally funded vouchers targeted toward creating additional permanent supportive housing for the elderly, people with disabilities and low-income households.

“This will be the largest-ever issuance of Project-Based Vouchers (PBVs) in CMHA’s 87-year history,”  said CMHA Chief Financial Officer Tom Williamson. “CMHA is excited to move forward with each of our Project-Based Voucher partners." 

PBVs are the federal government’s major program for assisting more than 5 million people nationally in 2.2 million very low-income households, the elderly and the disabled to rent modest housing in the private market. To qualify, households must meet income requirements set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The six CMHA recipients of PBVs are National Church Residences (which received the highest total with 312 vouchers), Community Housing Network (121 vouchers), Homeport (108 vouchers), Wallick Communities (120 vouchers), Affordable Columbus Housing (113 vouchers) and Creative Housing (43 vouchers).

“This announcement represents just the latest example of CMHA being laser-focused on providing affordable housing and meeting the needs of our people in Columbus and Franklin County,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman.

In total, over the life of the 20-year PBV contracts, CMHA will provide the six recipients approximately $134 million in federal funding to commit to offering more affordable housing in Greater Columbus. 

“This is another terrific example of the long-term relationship that National Church Residences has developed with CMHA over the past 18 years,” said Michelle Norris, executive vice president of external affairs and strategic partnerships for Columbus-based National Church Residences, which is the nation’s largest not-for-profit provider of affordable senior housing and the largest manager of service coordinators.

“We are honored to be a partner supporting CMHA’s mission to develop affordable senior housing, as well as our vision to advance better living for seniors,” Norris said.

The PBV program is part of HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher 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. 

CMHA’s selection process in Columbus and Franklin County is aimed at serving an individual with an annual income of $17,700, for example, or a family of four with an annual income of no more than $26,200. Through CMHA’s PBV program with its partners, the standard monthly rent would be $789 for a one-bedroom apartment or $1,428 for a three-bedroom unit.

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.

“PBVs are not widely used but are gaining popularity, as they have multiple benefits for agencies and communities,” including the ability to create more affordable and mixed-income housing with financing packages that make constructing or rehabilitating affordable housing possible, CBPP recently reported.

PBVs can also lock in lower rents in neighborhoods with fast-rising housing costs – such as the Columbus area – if the contract limits rent increases to changes in the landlord’s cost to operate the building rather than changes in market rents, CBPP noted.

About CMHA: CMHA helps people access affordable housing through collaborative partnerships, promote neighborhood revitalization and assist residents in accessing needed social services. CMHA has more than doubled its portfolio of housing over that last five years, including over $200 million in investment in 2020. We own over 4,000 units of affordable housing and through our Housing Choice Voucher and Project Based Rental Assistance Programs provide rental assistance to more than 250,000 Ohio and Washington DC residents. Half of the authority's apartments are set aside as workforce housing for families earning 80% of the area median income.




Charles D. Hillman, President & CEO of Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA)

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