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Park National Bank Among Investors Of $100 Million Fund to Develop Affordable Housing

Housing Action Fund offers new financial tool to fill the affordable housing gap

Columbus, OH – (January 17, 2020) – Business and non‐profit investors closed on $100 million of committed capital, establishing the Housing Action Fund to develop more affordable housing in Franklin County, the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County (AHT) announced.

This action fulfills the legal commitment made in June last year by banks and community leaders to form a revolving loan fund to offer below‐market loans to for‐profit and non‐profit developers to build and preserve affordable and mixed‐income rental housing.

As manager and underwriter of the fund, the Affordable Housing Trust will play a pivotal role in offering a new financial solution to fill the growing affordable housing gap.

“The Affordable Housing Trust is proud of our collaboration with community leaders that establishes the Housing Action Fund. The fund is significant not only for its size, but also for the diversity of investors who have come together,” said Robert Weiler, chairman of The Robert Weiler Company and chair of the Affordable Housing Trust Board of Trustees.

In addition to the Affordable Housing Trust, investors are:

  • Huntington National Bank
  • Fifth Third Community Development Co. LLC
  • First Merchants Bank
  • Ohio Capital Finance Corporation
  • PNC Bank
  • Park National Bank
  • Nationwide
  • L Brands Foundation
  • NiSource Charitable Foundation (NiSource is the parent company of Columbia Gas of Ohio)
  • The Columbus Foundation
  • The Middlefield Banking Company
  • Heartland Bank
  • CareSource
  • First Commonwealth Bank

As Franklin County’s population grows to a projected 1.5 million by 2050, the Columbus region’s affordable housing needs are escalating. So is the rise in the number of seniors, people who live in poverty, and those who are homeless. A BIA Foundation study estimated that Central Ohio must build more than 14,000 housing units per year to accommodate demand, yet the area is adding just over 8,000 per year.

The Housing Action Fund offers a flexible solution to address the region’s affordable housing shortage. Its loans can be part of a larger financing package or a bridge to fill the gap while securing funds from private sources and tax credits.

Loans will be made for an average of three years. As a revolving fund, when a loan is repaid, that amount can be loaned to another developer.
“Housing Action Fund loans can be leveraged multiple times over 10 years to help tens of thousands of residents,” said Steven D. Gladman, Affordable Housing Trust president.

Columbus voters approved a $50 million bond issue last year earmarked for affordable housing that had been championed by the city. The county also has contributed millions of dollars to affordable housing needs through the real estate transfer fee. Gladman noted the new housing fund brings the total community commitment to nearly $157 million from these three sources alone.

While priority will be given to developments that assist households with the greatest need, the fund also will finance workforce housing and complement the efforts of Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther to expand affordable housing opportunities in many neighborhoods.
The Affordable Housing Trust expects to issue its first Housing Action Fund loan within the next three months.

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