Job Creation, Strategic Economic Development, & Fiscal Security
Investment in Affordable Housing
Facilitating more affordable housing has been a goal of the Franklin County Commissioners for many years. The commissioners’ Rise Together Blueprint for Reducing Poverty in Franklin County identified that drastically increasing the availability of affordable housing is critical to reducing poverty.
In May 2019, Franklin County Economic Development Planning published the Affordable Housing Implementation Framework to guide the county’s affordable housing initiative. Franklin County has made significant progress most notably in activating new funding for the construction of new affordable housing units. Through its newly created Magnet Fund, the commissioners awarded four letters of intent for the creation of 305 new units of affordable housing in Franklin County.
One of three affordable housing projects currently in development, which will create a combined 305 new affordable housing units to the market in Franklin County.
The County’s HOME program currently ranks among the top in the nation in terms of leveraging its annual allocation.
We leverage $23.55 for every qualifying HOME dollar compared to the state average of $8.76 and the national average of $5.93. In the 2019-2020 cycle, this leverage resulted in $16.9 million compared to the national average, which would yield $4.2 million – an additional $12.7 million in annual affordable housing benefit for Franklin County.
Franklin County leveraged
for every qualifying HOME dollar allocated
annual affordable housing benefit for Franklin County
Economic Development Director James Schimmer explains why counties matter
Targeted Help for Businesses
The pandemic created historic challenges for businesses as customers sheltered in place or limited contact. Many businesses were forced to permanently close their doors while others had to close their doors for weeks or months, leading to historic unemployment claims. Without fast and innovative help, thousands more unemployed were feared to follow.
Officials from the commissioners’ Economic Development and Planning recognized the urgency of the situation and deployed resources to help businesses ride out the pandemic with targeted loans and grants. These included forgivable loans to help them stay open, grants to cover the costs of modifying their facilities to be compliant with safety guidelines, grants to cover personal protective equipment or lost wages and more.
The commissioners also made sure the grants were awarded equitably so that recipients reflected Franklin County’s diversity. Unfortunately, while the federal government offered support via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), analysis later showed that much of that funding went to big businesses and only 3% of PPP loans issued in Ohio went to African-American-owned businesses. The commissioners set out to find and assist, those businesses that were falling through the cracks. Franklin County’s programs for businesses and nonprofits included:
Dozens of additional programs were also implemented to address other key areas of need. Here are a some of those:
COVID-19 Response Efforts for the Business Community and Housing Assistance
How Economic Development and Planning put CARES Act funding to work in Franklin County
for a housing stabilization project - YMCA
to increase broadband access for low-income families - Central Ohio Broadband Access Pilot Program
for job development training - Franklin County Skill Boost
to assist business entrepreneurs - Ohio Small Business
for relief from loses during the pandemic - Franklin County Stadium Inc.
TOTAL - $17 MILLION OR MORE THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE $76 MILLION IN CARES ACT FUNDS INVESTED IN FRANKLIN COUNTY BY THE COMMISSIONERS
Franklin County Infrastructure Bank
Since the program began in 2015, the Franklin County Infrastructure Bank has been a revolving loan fund for municipalities to provide below market rate financing for infrastructure programs like transportation, energy, water, telecom and more. Thus far the bank has made 8 loans to 7 municipalities:
FCIB Funds Committed
3 to 1
Program Income to Date
Job Creation Commitment
Cost per Job
Jobs Created to Date
Launching the Franklin County Magnet Fund
In 2019, the commissioners created a new Magnet Fund to help spur private investment for affordable housing near employment centers and public transportation.
In total affordable housing investment
In total county equity funding inducement
Projected new affordable housing units provided
Average county equity per project
Leverage of county funding per total project investment
Of county investment per affordable housing unit
Establishing the Community Land Trust
The Central Ohio Community Land Trust (COCLT) s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2018 in partnership with the City of Columbus and Franklin County.
In 2020, the commissioners made their first investment to COCLT with more than $2.3 million.
The commissioners provided businesses with new connections last year to restaurants, food warehouses and deliveries, and local growers via a Food Business Portal. The portal is a tool offering valuable online resources and services needed to plan, launch and grow a food business in Franklin County. This portal provides free advice, government contract information, help with marketing, sales, financial guides and more. The portal has additional benefits in that its entrepreneurial resources can be helpful for a variety of small businesses.
The commissioners conducted dozens of online public meetings, listening sessions, and learning opportunities over the past year in order to help our community and small businesses succeed in the pandemic economy.
Breakdown of Economic Development and Planning Service Areas
- Zoning Administration for 10 of 17 townships
- New County Affordable Housing Tax Incentives
- Floodplain Administration
- Subdivision Regulations
Balance of the County (white and light blue)
- Current HUD Housing Funds
- CARES Act Response and Recovery Funds
- Residential Building (plus 6 contracted villages)
- Infrastructure Bank
- Land Trust
- Magnet FUnd
City of Columbus
To be the best county community, planning, and economic development organization in the State of Ohio through the use of innovative public policy and programs which make significant and lasting contributions to enhance the quality of life for the residents of Franklin County. EDP implements resident-centric economic development and planning policies that strive to improve access to opportunity, quality of work, and quality of place. EDP works in collaboration with departments across Franklin County and across the region in pursuit of this mission.