1 in 3 of us can't afford our current housing costs.
Because of our affordable housing shortage, hardworking, everyday people like childcare workers, school bus drivers, home health aides, custodians, retail and food service workers, recreation center employees, and government retirees are struggling to keep their heads above water. Far too many of us are spending more than 30% of our income on housing. As a result we have less money to put towards other basic needs like food, transportation and health care.
Times are particularly hard for those of us with lower income. In fact, at least 54% of us with household incomes below $30,000 a year are spending more than half of our income on housing! It doesn't have to be this way.
We're more than 28,000 units short of affordable housing.
A 2017 report from the Community Building Institute found that that at that time, Cincinnati was short more than 28,000 units of housing affordable to those of us who most need truly affordable housing. That number is likely higher today than it was six years ago. In fact, A 2022 report found that since 2010, there has been a 35% decline in rental housing supply for those of us living in households with an income less than $30,000 a year. What this means is that each year we are losing more truly affordable housing than we are creating. Each year there are tens of thousands of individuals and families struggling to keep a roof over their heads. It doesn't have to be this way.
Rents rose more in the Cincinnati than it has in any city in the country last year!
According to an analysis by Redfin, Cincinnati rents jumped more in the last year than any city in the country. In fact, the current median asking price for rent in Cincinnati is $1815.00/month. Far higher than what most of us can afford to pay. It doesn't have to be this way.
Every year, people are dying due to homelessness.
Last year, we know that at least 172 people in Cincinnati died due to homelessness. 172 individuals whose life was cut short due to a solvable economic challenge. 172 families were devasted by an avoidable lost of a loved one. Research shows that experiences of homelessness can take up to 20 years off of an individual's life expectancy. For those currently experiencing homelessness, every year that we wait costs them more years of their life.
Housing justice is a racial justice issue.
It's often said that when America at-large catches a cold, Black folks catch the flu. In other words, it is common that the challenges we experience in our communities often hurt Black folks the most. The same is true with housing inequity. Black households in Cincinnati are disproportionately represented among those of us paying more than 50% of our income on housing! This is because more than 57% of Black families have less than $30,000/year of income. 75% of Black families have less than $48,000/year of income. Generations of income and wealth inequity has made Black families particularly vulnerable to our housing crisis.
Our data shows that when you consider all of the components of our ballot amendment (from emergency services to homeownership support) approximately 80% of Black households will qualify for at least one of the services funded by our amendment. In other words, when we say yes to funding truly affordable housing this November, we are saying yes to making the single largest ever known investment in the Black community in the history of Cincinnati.
The same is true for our migrant neighbors who are far too often relegated to overcrowded houses due to insufficient housing that they can afford. As a result, families who travelled here seeking refuge and opportunity in our great country are left struggling to make a good life for them and their family.
Affordable Housing is an education issue.
According to Project Connect, an initiative of Cincinnati Public Schools, more than 3,500 students each year experience homelessness. In fact, CPS has three times the national rate of homeless students. Between 10-20% of CPS students this year will experience homelessness. It doesn't be this way!
WE HAVE A SOLUTION!
Our solution is to create an ongoing and targeted revenue source to fund the creation and preservation of truly affordable housing. This is why we’re advocating to restore our earned income tax to its 2020 level so that our city has the resources needed to make real progress. This tax restoration will cost most households less than $11/month, but will generate between $40-$50 million annually toward truly affordable housing. Importantly, the money generated goes toward the creation and preservation of housing for those most in need of relief and where our City’s critical housing shortage is. In our plan, two-bedroom apartments will cost no more than $1,075/month, and most will cost $645/month or less.
But it doesn’t stop there. We are allocating money for emergency support services like legal support for those facing evictions, rental assistance, shelter services, and foreclosure avoidance support. Still there is more! We believe in the power and importance of homeownership, so revenue will also be available to help low and moderate income families enter and maintain homeownership. Finally, our amendment will give power to the people by creating a community advisory board that will give input on funding priorities and ensure transparency.