Too often, the term "affordable housing" carries negative connotations
of everything from high-crime zones to run-down tenements. The reality,
says Alicia Townsend of the Cincinnati Development Fund
, holds the key to building better futures for those facing life-altering challenges.
From single parents to grandparents, tenants on the hunt for housing
face fixed incomes, unexpected unemployment and other barriers to
finding dependable shelter. "We want to get accurate info out about
affordable housing and who needs it," says Townsend. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
recently awarded $20,000 to Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Advocates
to do just that. "Someone who needs affordable housing might be your
grandmother that can't maintain her home and lives on a fixed income."
Affordable Housing Advocates began in 1993 as a collaboration between the Cincinnati Development Fund, the United Way
and the Legal Aid Society
. The mission is to provide safe, accessible and affordable housing to residents in southwest Ohio.
The infusion of money supports AHA's Public Education and Awareness
Campaign for Affordable Housing. "We have a big push on educating the
public on the positive merits of affordable housing," Townsend says.
"The grant will help us put into action a campaign plan for speakers and
Townsend says the education forums help dispel negative stereotypes and
introduce the public to the people who need affordable housing, a group
which newly single mothers, seniors, teachers, nurses and people newly
released from treatment or prison programs.
The new education campaign targets two key demographics: youth between
the ages of 16 and 24 and faith-based organizations, in part because the
youth market is key to AHA's success, says Townsend. "They're the
tastemakers," she says. "If you can get to them before they become
homeowners, they have the ability to influence the adults around them."
• Sign up
. Get regular updates about AHA via email.
. Become a member of the AHA and support the education campaign through volunteering and donation.
• Spread the word
. Volunteer your time, talents and money to the cause of affordable housing in Cincinnati.
By Ryan McLendon