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December 13th, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, Homelessness, City Council

Study: Supportive Housing Doesn't Hurt Neighborhoods

Report questions fears raised by opponents of Avondale housing project

avondale housingAvondale 29 opposes construction of a 99-unit permanent supportive housing facility near residences. - Photo: Jesse Fox

Although some members of City Council appear ready to rescind support for a supportive housing project in Avondale, a previous study commissioned by the group in charge of the Avondale project found supportive housing facilities cause no negative impact to neighborhoods in which they’re located.

The study, conducted by Arch City Development and the Urban Decision Group, was commissioned by National Church Residences (NCR) to gauge the neighborhood impact of five permanent supportive housing complexes in Columbus for the chronically homeless, disabled and poor.

The study found crime increases in most of the areas surrounding the facilities, but the increases were roughly the same as or less than demographically similar areas in Columbus.

After interviewing Columbus residents located around the facilities, researchers also reported general agreement that the facilities had a positive effect or no impact on the areas.

Although three of the facilities are located near four Columbus City Schools, researchers wrote Anne Lenzotti, director of facilities for Columbus City Schools, "has received no complaints about any Central Ohio permanent supportive housing project at the district or individual school level."

The study, with its generally positive findings, calls into question many of the complaints voiced by opponents of the Avondale project.

Two members of a City Council committee on Tuesday agreed to advance a resolution that would rescind support for state tax credits going to the 99-unit supportive housing facility in Avondale.

But since the project already received state tax credits in June, it’s unclear whether council’s vote would have any effect on the project’s fate.

Opponents of the facility argue it will worsen Avondale’s problems with poverty, alter the look of the area and damage revitalization efforts.

They also complain that NCR failed to conduct thorough community engagement prior to proceeding with the project.

Proponents claim the dispute stems from a not-in-my-backyard attitude that follows so many supportive housing projects prior to their completion. They say more community engagement, beyond what’s already occurred with Avondale Community Council, will begin deeper into the planning process and shape the project’s parameters.

The full body of City Council could take up the resolution rescinding support for the Avondale project on Dec. 18.

Read the full study below:

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