VOICES: Regional approach required to tackle affordable housing

The City was asked to provide some insights related to the affordable housing situation in the City of Hamilton in conjunction with the recent news stories related to the redevelopment of the Anthony Wayne apartment complex. With regard to the Anthony Wayne redevelopment project, it is important to recognize at the outset that it is a private transaction between the current owner and the hotel developer, and based on representations of the owner, it is unlikely that the building had a long term future as residential housing.

As has been reported, the City has provided incentives through the Community Investment Corporation (CIC) for this project, as we have for other catalytic projects in the community. While the Anthony Wayne redevelopment project is a recent, high-profile project, the issue of affordable housing is not new to the City of Hamilton.

We within City administration recognize that housing is central to ending the cycle of poverty, and it can play a key role in positively influencing a family’s educational, employment and physical and mental health opportunities.

As a community, the City of Hamilton is fighting back from years of disinvestment which led to an overall decrease in the financial resources necessary to provide basic services to the citizens of Hamilton. This disinvestment resulted in an overall decrease in the quality of housing in the community. We need to continue to seek appropriate reinvestment opportunities that will allow for the revenue growth necessary to provide services such as code enforcement and blight remediation to ensure that the housing that is available in the community meets sufficient quality standards.

Additionally, we must continue to be mindful of housing affordability as we continue to grow as a community. As a legacy city with older residential building stock, one of our main concerns is to ensure that we are constantly improving the overall quality of housing that exists in our community. The Anthony Wayne project is anticipated to inject millions of dollars of direct and indirect investment into the community. Based upon our experience over the past decade, we have seen catalytic investments such as the Anthony Wayne project beget additional investments in the community, including investments in additional residential housing developments.

This is important, because experts agree that issues related to housing affordability in Hamilton, and the nation, are primarily driven by the overall lack of supply of available housing units. We recently completed a housing study that shows we are thousands of units short. Because of this scarcity, bringing on new supply at any price point will help with overall availability and decrease the likelihood of displacement. It is our goal to continue to incentivize and assist with catalytic projects that will help draw residential development and redevelopment to improve our overall housing accessibility and affordability.

Finally, it should be noted that based on information provided to the City by Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority, approximately 70% of existing affordable housing units within Butler County are in the cities of Hamilton and Middletown, which have less than 30% of the County’s population. While we in Hamilton remained focused on improving our affordable housing situation, there are many opportunities throughout the county for more of a regional approach to the development of safe and clean housing with access to amenities ranging from schools and grocery stores to employment and entertainment opportunities, and the traditional urban areas cannot continue to bear primary responsibility for those developments.

Tim Werdmann is the Executive Director of Internal Services for the City of Hamilton and has been employed by the City for the past 19 years.

Housing affordability in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation. New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

» Springfield and the entire country needs more housing, fast

» We need to be smart, responsible with our growth

» Plan provides multi-year roadmap for neighborhood solutions

» Displaced Anthony Wayne residents asking for a fair shot

» New hotel in downtown Hamilton will make the city proud

» Cost of redevelopment should not include displacing residents

» Regional approach required to tackle affordable housing

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