Director's Message

  • Executive Director Sean Thomas

As fall begins, we reflect on Fiscal Year 2017 and the work OHFA and our partners have done to provide Ohioans with more affordable housing opportunities. The Office of Homeownership partnered with over 100 private lenders and helped over 4,000 households purchase a home through OHFA's mortgage products. Save the Dream Ohio assisted 532 struggling homeowners and helped them stay in their homes, and the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP) removed over 2,400 blighted properties across the state.

The Office of Planning, Preservation and Development helped finance the construction or rehabilitation of 3,656 affordable rental housing units and allocated over $34 million in Housing Tax Credits to accomplish this goal. In addition, the Office of Program Compliance inspected and reviewed files for 485 projects to ensure that OHFA's investment in affordable housing continues to benefit residents and the communities in which they live.

On behalf of the Agency, I would like to thank the housing development community. During the summer, OHFA representatives attended dozens of ribbon cuttings, grand openings and ground breakings of projects funded through the Agency's affordable housing programs. Without our exceptional partners, these homes for Ohio's most vulnerable populations would not exist.

The Agency also took the time to honor our partners, including lenders, counseling agencies and loan servicers. In August, we held our Annual Partner's Appreciation Luncheon at The Ohio State University to thank our partners for the work they do to help Ohioans achieve the dream of homeownership.

Each year, the Agency's Office of Affordable Housing Research and Strategic Planning identifies the state of Ohio's housing challenges in the annual Housing Needs Assessment. This research guides our programs' guidelines to ensure we are meeting the needs of Ohioans. As a result of this research, the latest Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) focuses on revitalizing distressed communities, improving the health of residents, ending homelessness and simplifying the process of developing affordable housing.

As we look forward to the rest of the calendar year, I would like to stress the importance of OHFA's work. On Wednesday, the Trump administration and Republican Congressional leaders released their much-anticipated tax reform outline, the "Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code." While many details still need to be worked out, the current package calls for numerous changes to the corporate and individual tax codes. These changes include a 15 percent reduction in the corporate tax rate, a simplification of the individual tax code to only three categories, a doubling of the standard deduction for individuals and joint filers and the elimination of a handful of deductions and credits.

Lowering taxes will reduce the amount of revenue the federal government receives, but the Housing Tax Credit has been explicitly preserved, demonstrating the diligent advocacy work being done by NCSHA, OHFA and our partners. However, more work must still be done, including ensuring the continuation of the tax exempt status that fuels housing bonds vital to OHFA's single and multifamily programs. As the tax reform process continues through Congress, OHFA will continue to advocate for the Agency's mission on behalf of Ohioans.

Finally, I would like to remind everyone that this year's Ohio Housing Conference, Coming Together in Ohio, will be taking place on November 7 – 9 in downtown Columbus. Join us as we discuss the most pressing issues in housing with over 1,700 industry professionals. For more information visit the conference website at www.ohiohome.org/ohc17/

Sean Thomas
Executive Director
Ohio Housing Finance Agency