The city of Cleveland has selected the Clark-Fulton neighborhood as the target of millions of dollars in federal funds for affordable housing through the newly christened FHAct50 program.
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency usually gives out about $25 million in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits throughout the state. The new program, FHAct50, named in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, will give an additional $3 million in credits to three Ohio cities — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati — that could attract as much as $30 million in affordable housing investment in each location.
The cities were tasked with identifying a specific neighborhood for the funds, as to maximize the impact of the program, and, in order to create mixed-income communities, also had to guarantee there would be commensurate construction of market-rate housing — unit for unit — to match the addition of affordable housing during the same time period. The city will have full control over picking which developers and projects receive the tax credit.
A short introduction on a new FHAct50 website for Cleveland reads:
"The city has collaborated with their citizens to select one neighborhood that is ripe for market-rate housing investments and broader economic growth. In Cleveland, that neighborhood is Clark-Fulton. The city and residents will work together to create a plan for this target area that strategizes long-term development goals. The city will then recruit community partners to help execute this plan. After laying this groundwork, the city is authorized to competitively and transparently select affordable housing developments that support the plan to receive tax credits. This local competition replaces OHFA's traditional competitive requirements and allows investments to be more tailored and responsive to local needs than ever before."
What does that last part mean?
As Scene's sister paper, the City Beat in Cincinnati, explained as they worked through the process:
In a departure from OHFA’s normal competitive process, in which the agency weighs applications from across the state using a large number of criteria, the city — along with Cleveland and Columbus — will get almost total say over which developers receive the credits.Cleveland has opted in for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
That’s as long as they present a transparent plan for picking the developers and as long as the picks are overseen by a board or commission that includes low-income residents.
The downside: the cities will have to forfeit an advantage they have in OHFA’s regular scoring process for the rest of the credits it doles out for those three years.
If you want to learn more, a community meeting will be held Wednesday, May 8th, at the City Life Center at 3340 Trowbridge Ave. from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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