In 2003, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) acquired the largest portfolio of scattered site project-based Section 8 rental housing in the nation. With 250 buildings across seven Columbus neighborhoods, these units had historically struggled with poor maintenance, high crime, severe poverty, and limited social and financial resources. OCCH became involved with this portfolio at the request of Campus Partners for Urban Redevelopment, an affiliate of The Ohio State University. Campus Partners was concerned about the high concentration of dilapidated units in the portfolio located in Weinland Park, the neighborhood adjacent to the university. OCCH then purchased the existing for profit management company and transformed it into the nonprofit Community Properties of Ohio Management Services and created Community Properties Impact Corporation (CPO Impact).
In partnership with community organizations, and with the active support of federal, state, county, and local government, OCCH implemented the 'Community Properties Initiative,' a $133 million, nine-phase redevelopment plan to rehabilitate 1,033 units of affordable rental housing from 2004-09.
The CPO Impact portfolio presents unique challenges. Our residents live in households with an average annual income of less than $10,000 and less than 50% have a high school education. Our vision is to build a replicable national model of transformational affordable housing. Essential elements of the approach include investments in:
- professional, responsive, tough-love management;
- Eliminate the Elements safety initiative employing off-duty Columbus police officers; and
- a number of Supportive Services Initiatives to help residents succeed.
The work of CPO Impact goes beyond traditional property management. It warrants and requires community partnership and investment. Succussful affordable housing is a community interest.