Row of brick apartments

Joe Motil, former candidate for Columbus City Council and Ohio state legislature testified at this morning’s Franklin County Board of Commissioners public hearing on a proposal and other suggestions on how to best spend the county’s $255 million share of the federal governments American Rescue Plan (ARP) money.

Mr. Motil, who has been advocating and fighting for fairness, opportunity, and justice on nearly all fronts on issues that impact our communities economic and social quality of life for 35 years now states that, “The ARP funding for both the county and City of Columbus can lend immediate assistance especially to our underserved and low-income residents who have been impacted by COVID far more than others.”          

Motil testified that, “I have recently suggested a written proposal to Mayor Ginther and members of Columbus City Council that they consider allocating $60 million of their remaining $167 million ARP funds towards affordable housing that would be designated only towards those with incomes of 60% AMI and less. I have also written to and asked CEO and President of The Columbus Partnership Mr. Alex Fischer to propose to the 80-member organization that he represents to match that $60 million.”

“I am here today to suggest to you also, to consider matching that $60 million and hope you would consider joining in a conversation with the Columbus Partnership and City of Columbus elected officials on such a proposal. An immediate infusion of $180 million would go a long way into helping to provide decent housing for our homeless, the thousands of people who have or are facing evictions, help to reduce the waiting line for those who are in need of housing vouchers, and of course help the thousands of others who spending 50% or more of their incomes on rent,” Motil stated. “If I were to use the county’s estimate of its $68 million to create over 2,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years, $180 million would create just over 6,235 affordable housing units.”

Motil further stated that, “Along with this proposal that addresses our affordable housing crisis for those with incomes of 60% AMI ($35,220 single person, $50,200 family of four) and lower, I have also asked Mr. Alex Fischer of The Columbus Partnership to present to his members the creation of its own Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I have also suggested to Mayor Ginther and members of Columbus City Council to place a $250 million affordable housing bond package on the ballot, increase the 8.43% hotel-motel bed tax that is earmarked for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to 20%, and to re-adjust the required set aside units in Community Reinvestment Areas to 20% of all units at 60% AMI and 10% at 80% AMI.        

Motil concluded that, “I have also begun writing a letter to Nationwide Children’s Hospital CEO & President Mr. Tim Robinson asking him to consider constructing a 75–100-unit affordable housing complex as part of its planned $3.3 billion 12.6-acre expansion project. Such a complex could provide housing in walking distance for the many lower wage employees who work at Nationwide Children’s and other residents in south Columbus who have been seeing an increase in monthly rents for quite some time. This is partially due to the hospitals presence in the area and increased attention and revival of the south side from homebuyers and renters over the last 10 years or so.”