Cincinnati council members want affordable housing

February 6, 2018 by  

Cincinnati Councilman David Mann wants the city to move quickly to address the lack of affordable housing, and seven other members of the city council signed his motion.

The action comes despite the fact that John Cranley, the mayor of Cincinnati, has a plan to increase affordable housing. While the council members say his plan is good, they also believe it will take too long, stressing that residents need housing now.

At present, some developers receive tax abatements if they work on certain projects; if they are receiving these abatements, they may voluntarily contribute to a fund to build affordable housing. This mechanism is the same that is funding the new streetcar system. These contributions are known as ‘voluntary tax incentive contribution agreements’, or VTICA. In general, developers pay 25% of their potential taxes when they make improvements on city property, and in return, have the other 75% of the tax written off for at least 10 years, sometimes longer.

Under current arrangements, developers contribute an additional 15% to fund the streetcar. Cranley believes this same arrangement could be used to fund affordable housing.

Mann praised Cranley’s program, but said it was not enough. He suggested additional means for increasing affordable housing in Cincinnati, including changing zoning, or requiring that any project built with public money include affordable units.

Measures like this impact many people, so officials might like to work with a newsletter printing company to create an informative letter that provides factual updates on the issues.