Affordable housing issues require innovative solutions

During 2019, the Affordable Housing Committee plans to build on the good works completed in past years to sustain the Committee’s vision ‘as the primary point of contact to connect and educate the public, non-profits and REALTORS® on all things related to affordable Housing.’

For this year, it will be accomplished by meeting our 2019 committee goals through a series of monthly live Forums held at Columbus REALTORS® on various topics; coordinating and/or partnering in community events offering affordable housing information to the public; increasing the number of REALTORS® with the Certified Affordable Housing REALTOR® (CAHR) certification; and continuing to present Facebook Five and Finance Five segments at a majority of the committee meetings.

As these goals are met, the committee pledges to promote diversity and inclusion in every aspect of its Committee events and structure.

In March, the Forum topic is ‘The Future of Affordable Housing in Columbus and Central Ohio.' Dynamic speakers for this event are Rita Parise, Housing Administer, City of Columbus; and Roberta F. Garber, Executive Director, Affordable Housing Alliance of Central, Ohio.

Other forum topics for the months April through November 2019, focus on Lender updates, Affordable Housing New Builds, Condo Financing, Ohio Housing Finance Agency updates, the American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) program, Columbus Neighborhoods, Community Properties of Ohio (CPO), Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), and Tax Strategies for the Real Estate Professional.

Often our Committee is asked ‘What is Affordable Housing? We have found that the phrase ‘affordable housing’ means different things to different people. For some, the phrase has a stigma attached. Additionally, what is ‘affordable housing’ can vary from state to state, and city to city. Regardless of the location, the issue of affordable housing is now an important topic across the nation. Meeting the need can require innovative solutions. For example, the City of Columbus is asking voters to approve a bond package in May which includes $50 million for affordable housing initiatives.

For purposes of the Columbus REALTORS® Affordable Housing Committee, affordable housing is defined as any single-family home, condominium, or one- to four-unit owner-occupied property priced up to $180,000. This number is derived from a formula based on the area median income for Franklin County. Committee forums such as the one to be held in March serve to educate attendees about the steps being taken to ensure affordable housing remains a viable option for Franklin County families.

Our Certified Affordable Housing REALTOR® (CAHR) certification program is offered as one way of encouraging and benefiting Columbus REALTORS® who sell homes in the affordable housing arena. To qualify for the certification, criteria must be met in the following four areas of affordable housing: transactions, association activities, education and community involvement. Currently, there are nineteen REALTORS® with the CAHR certification. Our goal is to increase that number by at least four in 2019. Additional information and an application can be found on our website at ColumbusRealtors.com. Click on REALTOR® Tools then on the Affordable Housing tab.

Similar to last year, the Committee will continue providing user-friendly technology education to members as part of the Facebook Five segments. Topics range from how-to demonstrations and Q & A on technology tools such as Facebook, Twitter, etc., with an emphasis on improving marketing strategies.

With the ever-changing mortgage lending/home financing landscape, the Committee’s lender forums and Finance Five segments help agents stay abreast of developments in the mortgage industry, especially those changes affecting down payment assistance programs.  Our lender affiliates represent a broad cross section of the lending industry and the education and networking they provide as part of this committee is critical to any REALTOR® who wishes to develop expertise in affordable housing.

Please come, join us, participate in these events, gain useful information and share networking opportunities. Committee meetings are held at 10a (followed by the live forum at 11a), the second Friday of every month at 2700 Airport Dr., Columbus, Ohio 43219. REALTORS® and affiliates are all welcome. We hope to see you soon!