Affordable Housing & Preservation FAQs

Q: What do we mean by "affordable housing?"

A: According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a household pays no more than 30 percent of its annual income on housing. For many, affordable housing is out of reach and there are several types of subsidized affordable housing programs to help meet the need for such housing. Examples of federally subsidized affordable housing include the following programs:

1 - HUD Section 8 Background Information. Retrieved June 11, 2010 from the World Wide Web:


Q: Why preserve affordable housing?

Snapshot of Ohio -- Economic and Demographic Trends That Generate the Need for Affordable Housing

According to data compiled by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the estimated average wage for a renter in Ohio is $12.24 per hour. In order for that person to earn enough money to rent the average 2-bedroom apartment, he or she would have to work 44 hours a week and 52 weeks a year. If that person earned only minimum wage (about $7.75 per hour) he or she would have to work 72 hours a week. If that person's only source of income was monthly Social Security Income, he or she could afford to spend $202 dollars a month for rent. With the fair market rent of a 1-bedroom apartment in Ohio averaging $550 per month, there is clearly a need for rental assistance and housing developed with rent and income restrictions.2

The Ohio foreclosure crisis also is generating the need for affordable rental units. The financial devastation of foreclosure as well as the damage to one's credit rating makes buying another house after foreclosure impossible for most people. As reported by Policy Matters Ohio in Home Insecurity: Foreclosure Growth in Ohio 2010, foreclosure filings in 2009 increased 3.8 percent from the previous year for a total of 89,053. Since 1995, foreclosure filings have quintupled statewide, 2009 marking the 14th straight year of record foreclosures. Almost all Ohio counties, urban as well as rural areas, are affected.3

In April 2007, the Ohio Department of Development Office of Strategic Research issued The Ohio Poverty Report. According to their research, which was based mainly on the 2000 Census Data and the 2006 American Community Survey (ACS), they determined that an estimated 1,392,000 people (12.3%) and an estimated 304,000 families in Ohio (9.7%) met the definition of poverty in 2005. ACS data for 2004-2005 show significant increases in poverty rates since 1999 for some counties and cities – but not others; poverty rates also appear higher for urban and metropolitan areas.

As reported in the State of Ohio's Ohio Labor Market Information, the June 2010 unemployment rate for the state was 10.4% as compared to the national rate of 9.5%. Among the state's 88 counties, unemployment rates ranged from a low of 7.3 percent in Geauga County to a high of 16.8 percent in Clinton County. Only 6 counties had unemployment rates below 8.0 percent. The counties with the lowest rates, other than Geauga were: Holmes, 7.7; Mercer, 7.6 and Delaware, 7.6. Eight counties had unemployment rates at or above 14 percent. The counties with the highest rates, other than Clinton were: Highland, 16.0; Meigs, 15.0; Pike, 14.5; Noble, 14.4; Adams, 14.3; Jefferson, 14.2; Morgan 14.1.

According to Ohio Economic Analysis 20074 , Ohio's labor demographics are changing as the overall population ages. The baby boom cohort of workers has already begun to exit the workforce. More acute shortages of skilled labor may occur in the coming years. Nationwide, manufacturing employment has been in significant decline over the last six years. Ohio has been particularly hard hit with the loss of more than 100,000 manufacturing jobs since December 20075 Ohio has a high concentration of employment in durable goods production, which is more adversely affected during business downturns. In addition, restructuring in the automotive and related industries has resulted in major layoffs recently. Ohio's per capita income is higher than three neighboring states, but growth has been lagging the nation. About 23.3 percent of adults 25 or older have a bachelor's degree. The share of Ohio adults with an advanced degree is 8.5 percent (ranked 30th). The level of educational attainment tends to be higher in more urbanized areas.

In summary, the State of Ohio is facing several economic challenges over the next several years. Having a good, stable supply of affordable housing for all residents is a key strategy in turning the State's economy around. Preserving Ohio's large portfolio of assisted housing will help maintain this affordable housing supply.

Over the next decade, approximately 21,000 project-based HUD Section 8 units in 424 projects are in danger of being taken out of the affordable, subsidized housing pool in Ohio due to the impending expiration of their Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contracts. This is fully half of the active units in the Ohio HUD inventory. Ohio's inventory has already lost over 11,000 subsidized units since 1995 through contract expiration. Preservation of units with expiring contracts is a high priority for the state.

Ohio's affordable housing inventory also includes nearly 9,000 project-based Rural Development subsidized units in 397 properties. According to the Columbus RD field office, about 80% of the portfolio is suitable for preservation. The other 20% include units either located in strong market areas where it is difficult to preserve their affordability status, or are in such poor condition that rehab is not a viable option. Of the 320 projects eligible for preservation, 100 have already recently been preserved through RD demonstration grants, dedicated RD funds for rehabilitation and the LIHTC program. That leaves about 220 properties in the RD assisted portfolio for which preservation is viable.

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA) maintains a portfolio of over 1,200 projects that were developed using Low-Income Housing Tax Credits. All projects funded between 1987 through 1989 did not have extended long-term use requirements and are no longer part of the program. Fifteen thousand units in 264 projects developed between 1990 and 1994. The initial compliance period for these projects has or will expire soon. These properties are potential preservation candidates and all projects expiring thereafter.

Based on the above, Ohio has a potential universe of 43,100 units in about 1,000 projects that meet the Compact's definitions for affordability and preservation. This number will continue to increase over the next 10 years as more projects expire. Sixty-five percent of those units carry project-based rental subsidies. Generally, once a project-based unit is lost, it is gone forever. That coupled with the chronic uncertainty of the funding levels for tenant-based rental subsidies further indicates the need to preserve as many project-based subsidized units as possible.

2 - NLIHC's Out of Reach Report 2009: Ohio Data. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web: htt://
3 - Home Insecurity: Foreclosure Growth in Ohio in 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web:
4 - Ohio Labor Market Information, Research Publications. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web:
5 - Employment Loss in Ohio's Manufacturing Industry: Economic Trends: 3.30.09: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web:


Q: How much federally assisted affordable housing is there in Ohio?

A: There are approximately 162,000 units of federally assisted affordable housing units in the State of Ohio in over 2,600 projects6.

6 - From the Ohio Preservation Compact (OPC) statewide assisted housing database, completed by Eben Dowell of the Community Research Partners (CRP).


Q: How much public housing is there in the State of Ohio?

A: There are approximately 42,650 units in 244 public housing developments statewide, bringing the total universe of federally subsidized affordable housing to over 200,000 units.7

7 - From the Ohio Preservation Compact (OPC) statewide assisted housing database, completed by Eben Dowell of the Community Research Partners (CRP).


Q: What is AMI?

A. Eligibility for subsidized housing programs is typically determined by area median income (AMI). HUD uses the U.S. Census Bureau's median income for families in metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas to calculate income limits for eligibility. HUD estimates the median family income for an area in the current year and adjusts that amount for different family sizes so that family incomes may be expressed as a percentage of the area median income.8 Below are the definitions of extremely low-income, very low-income and low-income:9

To find HUD's FY 2010 Income Limits, please visit:

8 - Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse: Area Median Income. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from the World Wide Web:
9 - HUD User Data Sets: FY 2010 Income Limits. Retrieved July 23, 2010 from the World Wide Web:


Q: What are the threats to affordable housing?

A. Threats include:

10 - HUD Office of Policy Development and Research. Multifamily Properties: Opting In, Opting Out and Remaining Affordable. Published January 2006.
11 - NAHRO, Glossary of Housing/CD Terms. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web:
12 - Office of Affordable Housing Preservation. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web:


Q: How do I find affordable housing in my community?

A: There are several resources to help you find affordable rental housing in your community:


Q: Who lives in assisted housing?

A: Table 1 provides a demographic profile of different types of affordable housing based on HUD Picture of Subsidized Households 2008.13

More information can be found on HUD's website:

13 - HUD Picture of Subsidized Households in 2008. Retrieved July 19, 2010 from the World Wide Web: