August 2018 Agency Update
OHFA UPDATE - PAGE 2 - AUGUST 2018 HOMES FOR THE BRAVE VETERANS AND HOUSING IN OHIO BAILEY MARTIN OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING According to data from the OHFA, over 770,000 veterans are living in Ohio, and approximately nine percent of Ohioans are veterans. Over 63,000 veterans who have served since September 2001 are currently living in Ohio’s four largest metropolitan areas: Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton. As housing prices rise across the state, how are veterans in Ohio coping with these costs? For many of them, high housing costs lead to instability and homelessness. In a recent report , OHFA determined that between the years of 2012 to 2016, over 11,000 veterans received homelessness-related services. In 2016 alone, Continuums of Care (CoCs) across Ohio served over 4,400 veterans.These services include emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, safe haven and transitional housing, all of which were provided by CoC organizations across the state of Ohio. However, veteran status was unknown for over 6,000 clients, and the report only obtained data from seven out of nine of Ohio’s CoC organizations.This means that many more veterans may be struggling with homelessness in Ohio. For these veterans receiving homelessness services, the average age was 48 years old, and 55 percent were definitively homeless prior to entry, meaning they lived in a place not meant for habitation or in a temporary shelter. A person is considered cost burdened when they spend over 30 percent of their income on housing costs, and more veterans are struggling with a lack of affordable rental housing and for- sale homes. Statewide, post-9/11 veterans’ median earnings are sufficient to afford a one-bedroom apartment at a fair market rent, as computed by HUD. However, in Columbus and Cincinnati, that same level of income would not be enough to afford a median- priced home, meaning that these veterans may struggle to become homeowners in those metropolitan areas. Homeownership is a pathway to gaining economic stability for many Americans, and Ohio’s veterans may struggle to tap into that source of wealth. “Often people don’t realize that the pay our service members receive for serving our country is often less than what people make in the public sector.Transitioning from military to civilian life can be difficult,” says Sherry Ems, Executive Director of the USO of Central and Southern Ohio.“The veteran has to find a new job, establish roots (either back at home or where they land) and basically start all over.Therefore, helping our transitioning service members through affordable housing is key in supporting them as they move to the civilian world.We owe them a debt of gratitude for wearing the cloth of our nation and putting their life on the line to serve our country. It’s the least we can do to help them find affordable housing as they move on to the next phase of their life.” To help veterans become homeowners, OHFA offers its Ohio Heroes program , which provides down payment assistance and lower interest rates to those who serve the public.The program helps veterans, active military members, teachers, nurses, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, police officers and more. In the last five years, OHFA has helped over 2,500 households through this program. OHFA also continues to fund affordable housing developments to help lower income veterans across the state. Recently, OHFA allocated over $2 million in funding to McBride Place in Dayton, which will add more units to an existing affordable housing development on a VA campus.These developments provide housing for seniors with special preference given to veterans and are in close proximity to health care and other necessary services. For more information on housing opportunities for veterans, visit OHFA’s website .
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