Research intiative to analyze housing needs

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Housing Finance Agency recently partnered with the Ohio Development Services Agency to fund a research initiative to analyze the need for affordable housing and identify strategies to increase housing opportunities in Ohio’s 32 Appalachian counties.

The Appalachian Housing Initiative is a research effort conducted by the Ohio CDC Association in partnership with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, Vogt Santer Insights and Bob Snow & Associates.

“The affordable housing community recognizes that poverty, unemployment and deteriorating housing are contributing factors to the challenges of producing and maintaining a sufficient supply of quality affordable housing in the state’s Appalachian region,” said Doug Garver, OHFA executive director Doug. “The Appalachian Housing Initiative’s important analysis of the existing and future affordable housing needs provides a solid framework for OHFA’s strategy to assist the region with overcoming these obstacles in the future.”

“We are committed to business investment and growth in the Appalachian region,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency. “We want a clear understanding of housing needs to prepare for future growth.”

The research includes a housing needs assessment of Ohio’s Appalachian counties conducted by Vogt Santer Insights and a Project Funding Analysis conducted by Bob Snow & Associates.

Researchers from Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs with support from the Ohio CDC Association conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with housing developers and intermediaries to identify several barriers to the development of affordable housing in the region.

The challenges brought forth by the research included a lack of funding, low area median incomes and population density, and aging, substandard housing stock.

Stakeholders identified strategies and provided recommendations for addressing the barriers to increasing the availability of affordable housing in the region. The Appalachian Housing Initiative’s research concluded that there is a clear and pressing need for additional funds for development, operating assistance and rental assistance to meet the housing needs in the Appalachian region of the state.

“The initiative is an important step in defining the unique barriers and need in Appalachian Ohio and to understand collaborative strategies moving forward to help meet the overall demand for quality, affordable housing in the region,” said Nate Coffman, Executive Director of the Ohio CDC Association.

“We are grateful to OHFA, ODSA and the Ohio CDC Association for the opportunity to conduct this project which is a foundation for addressing the affordable housing needs of Ohio Appalachia,” said Kelli Schoen, Senior Research Associate, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.