Joe Motil

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime voice of everyday people states, “Our affordable housing crisis is worsening by the day. So why is the city and county still sitting on millions of taxpayer dollars of our American Recue Plan (ARP) money when it should be being utilized to  address this crisis?

A public hearing was held by the Franklin County Commissioners to hear comments on how the ARP funds should be spent clear back in July of 2021. Motil testified that the county and city of Columbus should allocate $60 million each of their ARP funds and that the Columbus Partnership should match it. He said "...and it was clear from the majority of those who testified at the county public hearing that ARP dollars should be allocated towards affordable housing.”

Motil points out that, “last month elected officials of St. Paul Minnesota and Ramsey county pooled together $74 million of their ARP funding for “deeply affordable housing” needs for those with incomes of 30 percent Average Median Income (AMI). What are our city and county elected officials waiting for?”      

Motil further comments that, “Mayor Ginther  and City Council President Shannon Hardin have had plenty of time to put together comprehensive solutions to address our city’s ongoing housing needs for those of incomes under $40,000. But in the 7 years that Hardin has served on Council and Ginther’s 15 years as an elected city official as both City Council President and Mayor, they seem to be spending most of their time catering to luxury real estate developers, the financial needs of corporate Columbus and longtime established local institutions.” 

Motil says, “On July 7, 2021 I sent a letter to the Mayor Ginther  and City Council President Shannon Hardin suggesting a proposal regarding the expenditure of $60 million for affordable housing from the city of Columbus’s $187 million American Rescue Plan funds. And that the county and Columbus Partnership should match the $60 million creating an immediate infusion  of $180 million towards  affordable housing. And that those funds should be earmarked for truly affordable housing of individuals and families whose incomes are 30 percent - 60 percent AMI, or roughly $17,600 - $35,220. The Columbus Partnership’s CEO Alex Fischer was also sent a letter detailing the proposal along with suggesting that the Columbus Partnership establish its own Affordable Housing Trust Fund. I did not receive a response from Mayor Ginther or The Columbus Partnership.” 

Motil states, “I have also publicly presented other solutions as well. This city should place a $250 million affordable housing bond package on the ballot this November, increase the 8.43 percent hotel-motel bed tax that is earmarked for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund  to 20 percent, and to re-adjust the required set aside units in Community Reinvestment Areas to 20 percent of all units at 60 percent AMI and 10 percent at 80 percent AMI. Rent Control legislation by the city of Columbus should also be implemented. And much more can be done.” 

Motil concludes that, “With the recent announcement of Intel locating here in Central Ohio and the impact it will have on our economy, it appears that the number one priority for those of influence and power is how they can benefit the most financially from Intel’s presence. And If Intel wants to make a big investment into the community, I suggest that they take a page from another billion-dollar corporation.  Amazon announced last June to commit  $300 million from its Housing Equity Fund to create more than 3,000 new affordable homes near three of its other U.S. facilities. If this affordable housing crisis is not our number priority, then Columbus in particular will become the San Francisco of the Midwest.”