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 inner-city Columbus neighborhoods, these units had historically struggled with poor maintenance, high crime, and residents living in severe poverty with 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, and had secured an agreement with the previous owners. On April 23, 2003 OCCH purchased the existing for-profit management company and transformed it into the mission-oriented Community Properties of Ohio Management Services (CPO Management).
In partnership with a number of community organizations, and with the active support of federal, state, county and the local government, OCCH implemented the "Community Properties Initiative" – a $133 million, nine-phase redevelopment plan, rehabilitating 1,033 units of affordable rental housing in Columbus, OH.
The rehab initiative, begun in 2004 and completed in 2009, involved not only the physical rehabilitation of units, with particular attention to the historic preservation elements of the buildings, but also an aggressive "Eliminate the Elements" safety program, supportive services, strict lease compliance, and re-establishment of trust and accountability between residents and property management. CPO has been honored to receive multiple awards for this project, including the 2011 National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award.
CPO residents and families have a renewed sense of pride in their homes and feel empowered as good neighbors in their communities. Indeed, neighborhood groups once critical of the portfolio of units now view the CPO Initiative as an important element of stabilizing our community. Our efforts to stabilize these properties cannot be done without focusing on the families that reside within them. We need the continued support of CPO Impact to provide supportive services and programs to help our residents succeed, and help us maintain our portfolio in a manner that makes residents and the community proud.
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