30
April
1998
|
12:00 AM
America/New_York

Trustees: Homeownership Incentive Program

OHIO STATE ENACTS INCENTIVE PROGRAM TO BOOST HOMEOWNERSHIP

	COLUMBUS -- The Ohio State University will stimulate the 
market to increase homeownership in the University District by 
encouraging its own employees to live in the neighborhoods around 
the Columbus campus.

	The university's Board of Trustees on Friday (5/1) approved 
the Faculty and Staff Neighborhood Homeownership Incentive 
Program to offer employees down-payment assistance to purchase 
and live in homes in the University District.  The program will 
begin June 1.

	Eligible faculty and staff members may apply for a $3,000 
forgivable loan at no interest for down-payment assistance to 
purchase a home in the University District.  As defined by 
Columbus City Code, the boundaries of the University District are 
Fifth Avenue on the south, Glen Echo Ravine (just north of 
Arcadia Avenue) on the north, the Conrail tracks on the east and 
the Olentangy River on the west.

	Recipients will be required to sign an agreement with the 
university that requires the applicant to live in the house for 
at least five years, during which time one-fifth of the loan 
amount will be forgiven each year.  If recipients move or leave 
the university before five years, they will be required to repay 
a prorated portion of the loan.

	"The program will be a real advantage for people who work at 
the university," said David Williams II, vice president for 
student and urban/community affairs and chair of the Campus 
Partners Board of Trustees.  "It will help faculty and staff feel 
more connected to the university, and it will help increase 
homeownership in the area, serving as a catalyst for positive 
change."

	The University Neighborhoods Revitalization Plan: Concept 
Document, prepared by Campus Partners and adopted by the 
university's Board of Trustees and Columbus City Council in mid-
1997, identifies low homeownership as one of the most critical 
issues facing the University District.  Homeownership has dropped 
from 50 percent in 1950 to 12 percent in 1990.

	The revitalization plan strongly recommends that Ohio State 
create a homeownership incentive program as a key neighborhood 
revitalization tool.  Over the past year, Campus Partners 
developed the incentive program in cooperation with the city of 
Columbus, Fannie Mae, Northside Development Corp., the 
university's Office of Human Resources and local lending
institutions.

	"I think this is a model that the university should be very 
proud of," said Terry Foegler, president of Campus Partners.  "It 
demonstrates the university's commitment to our broader 
neighborhood initiatives and is an important component to 
rehabilitating the area."  He noted that employer-based 
homeownership incentive programs have a proven track record
among large urban institutions, such as Yale University and the 
Cleveland Clinic.

	Surveys have shown a significant number of staff and faculty 
members are interested in living in the area.  Campus Partners 
has received about 150 inquiries from potential home buyers.  
"The wide mix of housing in the area will accommodate a variety 
of needs," Foegler said.  "This extremely diverse area has 
pockets of high-end homes, but most houses are affordable to 
first-time home buyers."

	Dovetailing with the university's efforts, the city of 
Columbus has targeted $400,000 of its homeownership assistance 
funds specifically for low- and moderate-income families to buy 
homes in the University District.  These families do not need to 
have any connection to Ohio State.  The state of Ohio also has 
set aside $500,000 in mortgage credit certificates to promote 
homeownership in the University District.

	In addition, Fannie Mae is offering mortgage products 
through local lending institutions to make homeownership in 
central Ohio affordable for more families and individuals.  
Fannie Mae, which opened an office in Columbus last year, is the 
nation's largest source of home mortgage funds.  Fannie Mae has 
donated $10,000 to Northside Development Corp., the nonprofit 
affordable housing provider serving the University District, to
improve its administrative capacity to assist university 
employees in accessing the incentive program.  Local lending 
institutions also have pledged to support Northside's efforts.

	Ohio State's Neighborhood Homeownership Incentive Program 
will be funded with $500,000 of the $3 million of unrestricted 
gift money to the university committed by the university's 
trustees last year to implement Campus Partners' projects.  The 
homeownership program targets two-thirds of the funds to the 
neighborhoods closest to the Columbus campus, which have the 
highest priority for revitalization, with one-third to the 
remainder of the University District.

	Down-payment assistance will be awarded -- on a first-come, 
first-served basis while funds are available -- after receipt of 
a copy of the employee's accepted purchase contract on a home in 
the University District and completion of an assistance 
application.  Assistance funds then will be held 90 days for the 
employee.

	Northside Development Corp. will administer the program in
cooperation with Ohio State's Office of Human Resources.  
Northside, in cooperation with area realtors and lenders, will 
sponsor workshops to assist and educate university employees who 
are prospective home buyers.

	The first workshop will be Saturday, May 9, from 1 to 3 p.m. 
in room 100 of the Northwood-High Building, 2231 N. High St.  
Parking is available in the rear of the building.  A second 
workshop is scheduled for Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to noon 
at the same location.  Additional workshops will be scheduled.

	At the workshops, Northside will advise prospective home 
buyers on financing contingency language in their purchase 
contracts, on the tax consequences of the incentive program, on 
pre-qualification with lenders, and on other assistance programs 
which may be available through financial and governmental 
institutions.

	University employees can register for the workshop by 
calling Northside's home buyer information line at 299-9859.  
More information on the incentive program also may be obtained by 
calling that number.

	Increasing homeownership is one of a full range of 
strategies to revitalize the neighborhoods and retail areas of 
the University District.  Campus Partners, established by Ohio 
State in 1995 to develop the revitalization plan, is working with 
the city, neighborhood leaders and civic associations, and the 
university itself to implement the plan's recommendations.  These 
recommendations include public services, public safety, 
employment, elementary and secondary education, zoning, code
enforcement and High Street improvements.

                               # 

Contact:  David Williams, vice president for student and 		
		  urban/community affairs, (614) 292-9334; 
		Terry Foegler, president of Campus Partners, 
		  (614) 294-7300