Empowerment Day – Honored Guests

Charles D. Hillman: President & CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority

There is an affordable housing crisis in Central Ohio, with 54,000 families unable to find an affordable place to live. Charles has charged his team at the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) to take a leading role in finding solutions to this crisis.

Charles assumed the role of President & CEO of CMHA in 2010. Since then, CMHA has grown its footprint to house over 15,000 families in Central Ohio; and Charles has set a goal of growing the agency by an additional 2,000 housing units over the next five years. Charles is committed to not just providing clients an affordable place to live but also providing access to services to help clients stabilize and grow towards self-sufficiency.

Under Charles’ leadership, CMHA has also strengthened and stabilized its financial position. In 2016 CMHA decreased operating expenses dramatically while increasing total assets by approximately $38 million. This stability has enabled Charles and his team to explore new and innovative ways to provide affordable housing throughout the community.

HUD awarded CMHA a $30-million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant in 2014. This grant, along with local public and private-sector commitments, will result in 450 new units of mixed-income family and elderly housing and over $250 million invested in Columbus’ Near East Side, a predominately African American neighborhood that has suffered from years of neglect.

Continuing CMHA’s neighborhood revitalization efforts, Charles also forged a partnership with Casto, the Robert Weiler Company, and the City of Columbus to redevelop another former public housing site, this time in the Franklinton neighborhood. This project, known as River & Rich, is a mixed-income, mixed-use development with over 250 units of housing, 36,000 square feet of commercial space, and a 300-space parking garage. Under Charles’ direction, CMHA first came back to Franklinton in 2014 when the Agency partnered with Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing to open Franklin Station, a 100-unit permanent supportive housing development for adults with physical and mental disabilities and individuals who have experienced homelessness.

Charles is an active board member of the Central Ohio Workforce Investment Council and the Greater Columbus Arts Council and serves as a trustee for The Central Ohio YMCA and Franklin Park Conservatory. He is also a member of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and United Way of Central Ohio’s Key Club. In 2016, he received the Public Service Ambassador Award from the Greater Columbus Community Helping Hands, Inc., the Outstanding Community Partner Excellence in Service Award from the YWCA, and Columbus Business First Outstanding Diversity Role Model award. In 2017 and 2018 he was awarded Ohio’s Healthiest Employers of Central Ohio from Columbus Business First.

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Hal Keller: President, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing

Hal has been with Ohio Capital Corporation since its inception; first as Director of Development and then as President since 1993. Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing is an independent non-profit corporation created with the assistance of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency in 1989.

Hal oversees all corporate policy and fiscal affairs, including securing corporate investors for Low Income Housing Tax Credit equity funds and coordinating efforts to develop housing projects receiving equity investment from the Ohio Equity Funds. To date, Ohio Capital Corporation has raised more than $4 billion in corporate equity for LIHTC projects involving more than 800 transactions and 45,000 units of affordable housing in Ohio and Kentucky.

OCCH also provides services on a range of affordable housing issues to state and local governments, financial institutions, public housing authorities, property management companies, as well as local non-profit and for-profit developers. OCCH has an affiliated property management and supportive services organization, Community Properties of Ohio Management Services, a lending subsidiary, Ohio Capital Finance Corporation, a certified Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), and philanthropic arm, Ohio Capital Impact Corporation. Hal has been involved in affordable housing for over 40 years as a consultant to state and local governments, an administrator of state and local housing programs, and as a neighborhood organizer and tenant advocate.

He holds Master of Arts degrees in both Public Administration and Social Work from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Social Science from Case Western Reserve University. Hal serves on the boards of a variety of organizations including the YMCA of Central Ohio, Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County, Ohio Housing Council, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio and PACT (Partners Achieving Community Transformation). He also serves on the boards of several national affordable housing trade associations.

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Over the last eight years, Charles Hillman’s tireless commitment and innovative strategies have made our Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority even more effective, leading them to acquire 15,000 housing units (and counting), as well as increasing operating assets by $38 million.

Hal Keller, the architect and driving force behind the Ohio Capital Corporation, has raised more than $4 billion in corporate equity to promote affordable housing and strong communities since 1993.

These amazing change agents helped us transform an abandoned building in the King-Lincoln District to the Columbus Urban League’s Huntington Empowerment Center, a vital hub for economic mobility. Learn more about them on the right side of this page.