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					     Recommendations
 Section

   7 & Conclusions
   Sections 4 and 5 of the report include an analysis and assessment of impediments to fair housing
   choice in the public and private sectors. This section of the report presents conclusions and
   recommendations in these areas. Some of these are drawn from focus groups and interviews and
   others are consultant observations. These recommendations are made to assist the city and county,
   in collaboration with the Columbus Urban League and the Housing Roundtable, to develop a Fair
   Housing Action Plan.


Overcoming Public Sector Impediments

Attitudes of the General Public: NIMBY
   1) Research and ModelsThe Community Shelter Board, COHHIO and Community Housing
       Network have undertaken research and implemented models for overcoming community
       opposition to siting supportive housing projects. This research and successful models should be
       incorporated into fair housing education and outreach strategies aimed at the general public and
       targeted audiences to address NIMBY resistance to fair housing choice.

Development Regulations and Land Costs
   2) Columbus as a ModelGiven the current environment in suburban Franklin County
       communities, in the short-term most “suburban” new affordable housing development will
       likely be in the newer city of Columbus. The Fair Housing Action plan should include
       strategies that facilitate “site visits” by suburban officials to see attractive affordable
       developments in newer Columbus locations as a first step in a regional dialogue.

   3) Make Use of OpportunitiesThere are opportunities to introduce affordable housing into
       suburban locations. These include senior-only public housing, Section 8 tenants in LIHTC projects
       and non-profit/for-profit development partnerships. Section 8 certificates can be used by PHAs
       for homeownership programs. All of these may be options for increasing fair housing choice.

   4) Leverage County Resources—Franklin County should require suburban jurisdictions that
       receive county CDBG and HOME funds to develop and implement fair housing strategies.
       The county should also consider providing incentive funding to communities that are taking
       steps to remove regulatory barriers to affordable housing.

   5) Legal and Regulatory OptionsThe community should research strategies used by other
       communities to address exclusionary zoning, including legal strategies, inclusionary zoning
       and fair share plans, and determine their applicability to Franklin County.




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2001-2003 FAIR HOUSING PLAN                                              COLUMBUS & FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO




ADA, Home Modification and Visitability
    6) Improve Review and EnforcementJurisdictions that administer building codes should take
         advantage of the voluntary U.S. Department of Justice program and technical assistance to certify
         that codes and enforcement comply with accessibility requirements. In addition, the Ohio Civil
         Rights Commission should implement plans to increase staff training and competency in ADA
         enforcement.

Taxes and Fees
    7) Document the SavingsThe Mayor’s Housing Task Force began to explore savings that
         could be achieved in housing development costs by reducing fees and making a number of
         minor modifications to development regulations. This research should continue and changes
         implemented in Columbus codes. The results should also be disseminated to suburban
         jurisdictions to encourage similar changes.

    8) Tax IncentivesThe city of Columbus should refine and implement the tax abatement
         recommendations of the Mayor’s Housing Task Force. These would encourage new housing
         and homeownership in the central city, as well as affordable housing in newer Columbus. The
         experience of Columbus should be used as a model for tax abatement for affordable housing in
         suburban communities.

Public Housing and Tenant-Based Section 8
    9) Focus on VouchersThere are national models of PHAs making radical changes in how they
         administer the Section 8 program to attract more landlords. If the rental housing market in
         Columbus is “softening”, as vacancy data indicates, the timing may be right to try some of
         these new approaches to attract more landlords with properties outside of the central city to
         participate in the program.

    10) Lobby HUDA new administration in Washington may provide a window in which HUD will
         consider regulatory changes in the Section 8 program to make it more user friendly. CMHA
         has suggested that they would like to eliminate the requirement for up-front inspections for
         each unit for landlords with a good track record of well-maintained units. They would also like
         to be able to start a contract with a landlord prior to all the HQS repairs being made. This is
         permitted in the Shelter Plus Care program, but not in the regular Section 8 program.

Project Based Section 8 and HUD Financed Units
    11) Make Use of Existing ResourcesCOHHIO’s OTAG program keeps detailed records on
         the status of Mark-to-Market and expiring HUD contracts and provides technical assistance to
         community groups and tenants of these properties, including those in Franklin County. The
         Fair Housing Action Plan should include a mechanism for the community make use of the
         resources provided by COHHIO, while continuing the information sharing activities of the
         Columbus Affordable Housing Task Force chaired by HUD.

Intergovernmental Coordination
    12) Expand the Housing RoundtableThe Columbus Urban League should consider ways to
         enhance the Housing Roundtable to enable it to function as a regional coordination body on fair
         housing issues. The membership of the Roundtable should be expanded to include the direct
         involvement of local government officials. Consideration should also be given to adding
         representatives of realtors, rental housing owners, legal services and developers.


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2001-2003 FAIR HOUSING PLAN                                               COLUMBUS & FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO




 Overcoming Private Sector Impediments

Lending
    13) “Hand Holding” CapacityLenders indicated that they lack the staff capacity to do the extra
         work that it takes to work with these marginal borrowers. The Fair Housing Action Plan
         should consider community strategies to assist lenders access these staff resources, including
         greater collaboration with housing counseling agencies.

    14) Data AnalysisThe approach that the Columbus Urban League has taken to presenting the
         HMDA data has not changed in a number of years. CUL should modernize the HMDA report,
         with a focus on timely reporting and increased analysis of the data. CUL should explore the
         feasibility of putting the data on-line to enable broader community access.

    15) Predatory LendingThe formation of the Columbus Region Predatory Lending Committee is an
         important first step in addressing predatory lending. Steps should be taken to document the extent
         of the problem in the community and to coordinate multiple activities at the local and state level
         that are springing up to address this issues.

    16) Loan ServicingThere are signs that foreclosure is becoming a bigger issue in Franklin County
         as a result of builder buy-down programs and predatory lending. A downturn in the economy will
         exacerbate these problems. The community should analyze loan servicing practices, make use of
         the data COHHIO is collecting on foreclosures, and determine if action should be taken.

Credit
    17) EducationParticipants in focus groups and interviews stressed the need for comprehensive credit
         education, beginning in grade school. The Fair Housing Action Plan should include actions to
         identify existing programs and determine how they can be coordinated and enhanced, with a focus
         on culturally specific education. The community should also identify best practices in credit
         education, credit counseling and financial literacy training to use as models.

Real Estate Industry
    18) TestingIt has been a number of years since testing was done to determine if there are patterns of
         discrimination in the real estate industry in Franklin County. Although anecdotal evidence suggests
         that there are far fewer problems than in the past, it is appropriate to periodically gather data to
         confirm this assumption. The Fair Housing Plan should include a schedule and procedure for
         periodic testing.

Rental Housing
    19) Focus on Small LandlordsThe Columbus Apartment Association, the Columbus Urban
         League and CMHA have all indicated that it is a challenge to work with small landlords. This
         is not a new issue, and it was a part of the previous plan. The new Fair Housing Action Plan
         should again tackle this issue. It may be useful to convene a focus group of small landlords and
         get their input on approaches to providing fair housing education and information that would
         be most helpful to them, without adding unacceptable cost and time burdens. The plan should
         also focus on assisting small landlords to deal with lead paint regulations.




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2001-2003 FAIR HOUSING PLAN                                               COLUMBUS & FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO



    20) Enhance TestingEach year the Columbus Urban League does testing of rental housing
         properties. Similar to the approach recommended for improving analysis of the HMDA data,
         CUL should consider convening a technical advisory committee to provide recommendations
         on how to best target testing efforts and how to analyze and present the results of testing so it
         can be of maximum use to the community. The advisory committee could also be used to
         assist in recruiting testers, which has been a continual challenge for CUL.

Insurance
    21) Keep on Top of National TrendsThe Fair Housing Action Plan should include activities that
         assure that the community is aware of efforts of national fair housing groups to address insurance
         redlining and is poised to take advantage of future settlements that made be reached with large
         insurance companies. In addition, the signs of discrimination in insurance should be a part of the
         community’s housing counseling programs.

Appraisal
    22) Involve the Appraisal IndustryThe Fair Housing Action Plan should include appraisers as
         one of the stakeholder groups in developing strategies to finance housing rehabilitation and new
         housing construction and address predatory lending practices in older neighborhoods.




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