Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs
What Happened in Housing at the State House this Year?
The state budget that was recently enacted had three major initiatives, two positive and one negative, in terms of housing for the State of Ohio. Led by the Ohio CDC Association and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, a major initiative was taken in the state budget to expand the housing trust fund. This imitative, known as Home Matters to Ohio, would add millions of dollars that would benefit low-income residents by maintaining and expanding their properties. Recent studies have highlighted the need for working families to receive assistance through efforts such as expanding the housing trust fund. Everyday, hundreds of Ohioans lose their apartments due to eviction. The Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality identified stable housing as a crucial element in reducing the state's high infant mortality rate.
Former Cuyahoga County treasurer James Rokakis sought through his coalition of 35 landbanks throughout the state of Ohio to establish an initiative for funds to be available to rehabilitate housing in local communities. Previous state initiatives had established millions of dollars for demolition of condemned properties throughout the state. The effort to rehabilitate housing would complement the efforts of demolition to stabilize neighborhoods and communities. An initiative was also put into place in the budget to prohibit cities from controlling lead inspections. This was specifically targeted at the City of Toledo. The State of Ohio through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency has utilized hundreds of millions of dollars in federal TARP funds to assist homeowners in housing counseling to stave off foreclosure and also assist communities in demolition of decaying properties. This forum will have Bill Faith (Executive Director of COHHIO), Nate Coffman (Executive Director of Ohio CDC Assocation), Jason Warner (Greater Ohio). and Holly Swisher (OHFA's Neighborhood Improvement Program) to discuss these topics. Byron Solomon of NOBLE will serve as the moderator of this event.
From Left to Right: Nate Coffman (Ohio CDC Association), Bill Faith (COOHIO), Holly Swisher (OHFA), Jason Warner (Greater Ohio)
Nate Coffman is executive director of the Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA), a non-profit trade association for community development corporations that work to revitalize rural and urban communities. Prior to joining OCDCA in December 2009, he directed the revitalization efforts of Cleveland's historic Ohio City neighborhood with the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation. For eight years he served as executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland (HBA). At the HBA, Nate helped bring the organization and the membership to invest and develop in many underserved urban neighborhoods working in partnership with local CDC's. He also worked several years in Columbus for U.S. Senator John Glenn and as an aide at the Ohio Senate. He is a native of southeastern Ohio and a graduate of The Ohio State University. Nate serves on the Board of Directors for the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA).
Bill Faith has worked in the affordable housing field with a special focus on homelessness and very low-income people since 1980. Since 1994, he has been the executive director of COHHIO, one of the state’s lead organizations on advocacy, policy change, public education, training and technical assistance as they relate to homelessness and affordable housing issues.
Holly Swisher – Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) - manages all areas and programs that fall under Save the Dream Ohio (SDO). SDO, funded by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, focuses on foreclosure prevention programs that keep Ohioans in their homes and blight remediation. Holly joined in 2013 as the compliance manager over the program. Prior to joining OHFA she spent fifteen years in the private sector in the areas of customer service, compliance and loss mitigation. Holly holds a bachelor’s of science degree in business management and is a Certified Fraud Examiner.
Jason Warner serves as the Manager of Government Affairs at the Greater Ohio Policy Center. There he is responsible for representing GOPC at the Ohio Statehouse, advocating for the issues and policy positions central to the organization's mission. Prior to joining GOPC, Jason worked for more than eight years as a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he had the opportunity to work on a wide array of policy matters, including agriculture, economic development, taxation and transportation issues, serving as the staff assistant for the House Ways & Means Committee and House Finance Transportation subcommittee, as well as two years working on state rules issues before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR). More recently, he served for five years as the legislative and policy director at School Choice Ohio, a statewide not-for-profit organization working to advance public and private school choice options in the state of Ohio. Jason is a 2001 graduate of the University of Akron where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in American Political Science. He also holds a certificate in Applied Politics from the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.
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