Columbus Creates Land Trust To Build Affordable Housing

Feb 12, 2019

More working families in Columbus could soon realize their dream of becoming homeowners through a new affordable housing program.

Columbus and Franklin County leaders joined to create the Central Ohio Community Land Trust, which will acquire land and build homes for families often priced out of improving neighborhoods. It'll be the fourth such land trust in Ohio.

“The idea is that we would come alongside and provide a house that they could purchase within their means with some subsidy from the initiative,” says Hope Kingsborough, Vice President of Programs & Housing with the Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation (COCIC). 

COCIC, a non-profit organization, will oversee the Land Trust. Columbus officials committed $3.8 million to start the first homes.

Private and non-profit funding sources will help build the first 40 single-family homes in at least four different Columbus neighborhoods, including the South Side, Near East Side and Franklinton.

“They’re working and they can’t afford to purchase a home in these areas based on the demand of housing in these areas and also the shortage of them,” Kingsborough says.

The Community Land Trust will hold the land as a permanent community asset and will guarantee perpetual affordability of homes, for its residents, through a 99-year land lease. Land Trust beneficiaries will own their home and lease the land underneath it from the Trust.

“We believe there is a need for working families who are making between $40-80,000 who would like to live in the areas we just mentioned, on the South Side and Franklinton and the Near East, where currently market rate houses are going anywhere from $250-350,000,” Kingsborough says.

Kingsborough says the new homes will complement the look of the neighborhoods.

“We are working on several plans for the trust but currently our most predominate plan is to have a three-bedroom, two and a half bath home approximately from 1,400 to 1,700 square feet,” Kingsborough says.

The trust may look into other housing options, such as townhouses and multifamily units, in the future.