A new $25 million plan is targeted at acquiring and preserving affordable housing in the Linden area while paying for business micro-loans and health services in a neighborhood that continues to struggle in a growing city.
It sounds like a lot of money. But in terms of the neighborhood’s needs, it really isn’t, said Lawrence Calloway, who leads the South Linden Area Commission.
“It’s what you do with it,” Calloway said, “we have to start somewhere.”
The 614 for Linden was rolled out by local officials Monday at St. Stephen’s Community House in Linden. The money is being aimed at addressing four of the big 10 ideas that came out of the city’s One Linden community plan released last year.
That includes affordable housing. Money from this new effort will be used to acquire and rehabilitate about 500 affordable housing units, and possibly build new homes. It also will pay for helping to house 200 individuals and families who are either homeless or at risk to become homeless.
It will pay for consulting services and micro-loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs, and for health services including prenatal and maternal services as well as access to healthy food.
The remaining $20 million will be used in a loan pool that the Ohio Capital Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, will develop with three others: the Affordable Housing Trust of Columbus and Franklin County, the Finance Fund, and the Economic Community Development Institute.
The affordable housing trust will provide $11 million of that amount over five years, said Steve Gladman, the trust’s president. Gladman hopes that will leverage more investment in the neighborhood.
Six nonprofits involved in The 614 for Linden are St. Stephen’s Community House, Community Development for All People, Healthy Neighborhoods Healthy Families, the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio, the Community Shelter Board and Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Angela Mingo, the hospital’s community relations director, said the dollars are being used essentially as seed money to leverage more money for Linden.
According to the One Linden plan, home ownership in Linden declined from 63% in 1980 to 37% in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage of families living in poverty, according to federal standards, increased from 31% in 1990 to 43% in 2015.
Calloway said Linden leaders and residents must be at the table to carry out this effort.
Alison Goebel is the executive director of the Greater Ohio Policy Center, which will be monitoring The 614 for Linden effort to make sure it achieves what it is setting out to do.
“It’s one thing to check boxes. It’s another to transform a neighborhood,” Goebel said.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch