November 2021

Columbus community leaders demanding more affordable housing

Courtesy of  ABC6 / FOX 28 
By Maria Durant
November 11, 2021

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX) — Community leaders coming together today demanding an action plan to bring more affordable housing in Franklin County. The leaders say the city is in crisis mode.

ColumbusUrban League President Stephanie Hightower says the housing problem is a crisis on par with COVID-19.

“Since July our team at the Columbus Urban League has fielded more than 12,000 calls. This is just from July from people at risk of losing their home,” she said.

Hightower says that’s about 3,000 calls a month.

She says, right now, 1,000 people are in their system waiting for help.

“The numbers continue to grow,“ said Hightower.

The overwhelming need is why many community leaders came together to demand an action plan from the city and county officials and to include them at the table when trying to resolve the problem.

“We are demanding a comprehensive affordable action plan,“ said Nana Watson, the President of the Columbus NAACP. “We all need to get on the same page as we begin to address homelessness in our community.”

Hightower says a comprehensive approach is needed, housing alone she says isn’t the only answer.

“Let’s do the wrap-around services that’s needed. Let’s find them better jobs when you have a mother that’s working two or three jobs, she can’t take care of her family,“ said Hightower.

And despite the city’s efforts, such as the plan to spend a $50,000,000 bond package on affordable housing projects, such as new housing units, these leaders say much more needs to be done.

“I think our mayor needs to be on board, all of our county commissioners need to be on board. I think the corporate community, the Columbus Partnership needs to be on board. I think developers need to be on board. We need to develop new developers, developers of color,“ said Hightower.

Tonight Columbus city council with Cohear are hosting a conversation on housing needs. IF you’d like to voice your concerns contact Jasmine Ayers at You can also call 614-325-3134.

The virtual meeting is 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

On Monday, Mayor Ginther and other officials will break ground on a new apartment complex for low-income tenants at the site of the old Alrosa Villa concert hall.