Partnership helps with affordable housing

The city of Columbus is receiving a welcome boost to its stock of affordable housing thanks to a partnership with the Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center and C4 – Columbus Area Career Connection.

Affordable housing — both apartments and houses — has been an ongoing problem for Columbus, which is one of the most expensive communities in which to live statewide.

The latest bit of help toward remedying that problem involves C4 high school students designing homes on properties the city is in the process of assuming. The idea is to help some reliable renters transition to home ownership.

The blighted properties — a vacant lot at 1510 Pearl St. and a condemned home at 834 Werner St. — are both in the Lincoln-Central neighborhood.

Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center has been working to increase home ownership in an area where about half of the residents own their homes. Home owners tend to take better care of their homes, which in turn alleviates blight in neighborhoods.

The new partnership would have the center identify potential home owners — renters who qualify for low-income housing, are currently renting and have been reliable tenants.

The benefit for the C4 architecture and building trades students is they gain valuable experience for possible future careers. The C4 students have previously designed and constructed homes in the $170,000 to $450,000 range. The homes, to be built on smaller lots than the students are used to working with, would sell for $100,000 or less.

If everything goes according to plan, construction of one of the homes will begin in the fall of 2017.

This collaboration is the type that has served the city well for decades. It assists in addressing Columbus’ insufficient supply of affordable housing, aims to improve neighborhoods with responsible home owners and allow students to gain valuable hands-on experience. That’s a winning combination for the community.