WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) joined Huntington C.E.O. Steve Steinour at Jennings Center for Older Adults in Garfield Heights today to announce that the bank will invest $100 million in Ohio affordable rental housing through 2012. This is the single largest investment in affordable housing in Ohio history and is expected to create more than 1,300 apartments for up to 3,000 low- to moderate-income people.
"Ohio, especially Cleveland, has been hit hard by the foreclosure crisis," said Sen. Brown. "Our economy and our communities cannot recover until every Ohioan has a place that he or she can call home. This critical investment addresses the urgent need for affordable housing, and it also creates jobs and stimulates local economic development."
"Huntington is committed to supporting our communities so that they can remain vibrant and will attract more investment," Steinour said. "There is no better way to do so than to invest in housing units that make a significant difference to the quality of life in our communities."
Huntington is working in partnership with the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) on the project. The funding will help jumpstart the construction and remodeling of additional affordable housing that was stalled during the recession. With this investment, Huntington is hoping to help those who have been hard hit by the housing crisis and are seeking homes that are affordable and safe. Additionally, the construction will provide much-needed jobs for more Ohioans.
OCCH is a Columbus-based nonprofit corporation that raises and invests private capital in affordable rental housing throughout Ohio. Created in 1989 by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, OCCH has invested in over 22,000 homes in Ohio. Huntington and OCCH have partnered on investments for over 20 years.
Today's press conference was held at St. Rita Senior Apartments, a 63-unit rental community for low- to moderate-income seniors, which is part of Jennings campus. St. Rita was completed in January of this year and is one of the projects Huntington supported.
Altogether Jennings Center for Older Adults has 156 units of independent housing for seniors including affordable and market-rate apartments. Its campus also includes assisted living, long-term nursing home care and short-term skilled nursing as well as child and adult day care.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Sen. Brown is working to ensure that Ohioans are able to secure affordable housing. Brown is a leading proponent of providing assistance to communities affected by the housing crisis and population loss. He fought for the creation of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and the continuation of the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009. In Sep. 2008, Brown announced that Ohio communities would receive more than $258 million in NSP funds authorized by the housing bill. In Sep. 2009, Brown wrote to Secretary Donovan in support of Ohio applicants to the second wave of funding through the NSP program.
In April 2010, Brown led a group of 12 Senators in a letter urging the Appropriations Committee to provide $52 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP), which funds private, nonprofit fair housing organizations that are the frontline in the effort to resolve housing discrimination cases. The role of private non-profit fair housing organizations is threefold: to educate the housing industry regarding its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act; to educate consumers regarding their rights under the Fair Housing Act; and to ensure enforcement. FHIP investigates two-thirds of our nation's fair housing complaints.
Brown also introduced the Community Regeneration, Sustainability and Innovation Act of 2009 with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Reps. Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Brian Higgins (D-NY). This legislation would create a new, competitive grant program within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) targeted toward cities and metropolitan areas experiencing large-scale property vacancy and abandonment due to long-term employment and population losses.