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Ohio investigates lack of quality Appalachian Housing

Vinton County is set to receive $50,000 to conduct a housing research project that will span 32 counties in Appalachia and conclude in February 2013.

The Ohio Department of Development has given Ohio Community Development Corporations Association the money to conduct a housing research project that will ultimately lead to the installation of cost-efficient, quality housing in many of the 32 counties, according to a development-department news


“The research we are going to conduct will be a four-step process,” said Nate Coffman, executive director of the development


Step one will be conducting a market study, which Coffman said involves physically going into every county in the region and getting a sense of what the general needs are.

Step two involves taking inventory of assets in each county and noting potential obstacles or opportunities that each individual county might have, he


The obstacles and opportunities then will be observed in detail during step three.

Lastly, the development association will make recommendations to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency on how to best use policies to aid in the development of the “quality, affordable housing.”

The association is able to do the research project through a community-development block


“Vinton County, who will see a lot of benefit from the research, was the actual applicant for the grant money, as the rules of the program stipulate that local governments have to be the recipients of the money.

The county will then be the ones to fund the research through the Ohio CDC Association,” said Karen Fabiano, assistant chief for the Community Development Division at the development department.

“This particular project type was not one that we typically fund, but research in finding ways to provide affordable and quality housing to the Appalachian area

was a unique case,” Fabiano said.

The Voinovich School of Leadership at Ohio University is working with the Ohio Community Development Corporations Association on this project.

The school will be “doing research in the Appalachian counties and will be involved in the identification of obstacles and opportunities in the area,” said Michael Finney, associate director for operations at the Voinovich School.

Finney added that the school has been working on its research since this past summer and will be working with the development association through the entire process.

“The final findings of the report will be released in February of 2013 to the Ohio Housing Finance Agency,” Coffman said. “But we will be releasing findings as we go.”


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