Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Melanie Crabill
Director of Media Relations
[email protected]

Kevin Kilbane
Director of Communications
[email protected]

Media Advisory
News Date: May 10, 2021

Mayor Ginther Announces New Leadership Position, $10 Million Investment and Other Initiatives to Expand Support for Affording Housing in Columbus

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther today joined civic and business leaders to announce Erin Prosser as the City’s first-ever assistant director of housing strategies. The new position comes after a months-long national search and will help to lead the City’s efforts to address the lack of affordable housing, encourage the development of mixed-income neighborhoods and coordinate with community leaders to build a more inclusive and equitable Columbus.

“This is an important moment for all of our neighborhoods as we take significant and meaningful steps toward increasing the availability of affordable housing and generating the kind of growth that is dynamic, equitable and responsive to the needs of our residents," said Mayor Ginther. “I am delighted to welcome Erin onboard to help us lead this work, and I look forward to seeing the ways in which her experience and expertise will expand opportunity and uplift our community.”

Prosser brings to her role with the City nearly two decades of public- and private-sector experience leading the planning, development and engagement for numerous high-profile projects. She most recently served as the director of community development in the Department of Planning, Architecture and Real Estate at The Ohio State University, where she oversaw the revitalization of Weinland Park – including the addition of nearly 500 affordable housing units – and the 7.5-acre redevelopment of the 15th Avenue and High Street intersection. 

Prior to her time with the university, she worked as a planner and project manager at MKSK Studios, a multi-disciplinary design and planning firm, and served as a planner for Franklin County’s Economic and Planning Department. She holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Ohio State and a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University. 

“Central Ohio is at a critical inflexion point, and the city we become will depend on the decisions and policies we implement now and in the coming years," Prosser said. "Affordable housing is a passion for me. I am excited to join this all-hands-on-deck undertaking to create and grow diverse, thriving and sustainable communities across Columbus.”

Mayor Ginther also announced a $10 million investment in the City’s affordable housing initiatives. This investment will be included in the Capital Budget to be unveiled later this spring and makes available substantial funding for the creation, renovation and expansion of projects city-wide, such as the 60 new affordable residential units at Jenkins Street Lofts on the City’s South Side – the site of today’s announcement. 

In addition to the $10 million investment, Mayor Ginther announced two new initiatives that further support a more vibrant and inclusive Columbus:

  • Renter’s Choice: Upfront move-in expenses, such as lump-sum security deposits, are often cited as a significant barrier to entry for those seeking to change or improve their housing. Security-deposit insurance is an alternative designed to help address this expense, and is already utilized by many Columbus tenants. However, a tenant only has access to this option if their landlord chooses to offer it. Renter’s Choice will ensure that every tenant, regardless of their landlord, is informed of and has access to all of the options available to them – including deposit payment plans – when signing a rental agreement.
  • Foreclosure Registry: This program helps to avoid and reduce blight, public nuisances and resident concerns – as well as maintain and increase local property values – by creating a centralized, up-to-date foreclosure database that better enables enforcement officers and the City Attorney to secure, maintain and return vacant properties to a productive use. Revenue generated from the required registration of affected properties will be diverted to homebuyer-counseling and foreclosure-prevention partners to help keep more Columbus families in their homes.

These new measures advance Mayor Ginther’s previous call to cut the number of residents paying 50% or more for housing in half by 2030 – supporting at least 27,000 people. The City’s Building and Zoning Department is also continuing its work to update the City’s zoning codes and better facilitate the development and growth of mixed-income neighborhoods.