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Columbus mayor calls for more affordable housing in his State of the City address

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther delivers the 2022 State of the City Address.
City of Columbus

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther is calling on public and private partners across Central Ohio to invest a total of $1 billion in housing initiatives to create affordable housing in the city. It's part of several initiatives in the annual State of the City address Ginther delivered on Tuesday.

“Columbus is a special place and it's worth fighting for. We band together to solve problems, and we are fully committed to fostering the safest possible city, “ Mayor Ginther said in the online, pre-recorded speech.

Affordable housing was the centerpiece of Ginther's speech. The Democratic mayor plans to ask Columbus voters to pass a $150 million bond issue to expand affordable housing in the city. He says a number of new jobs are coming to the area and the workforce that comes with them must have a place to live.

“If you work in the region, you should be able to afford to live in the region. It comes down to this: If you're making $50,000 a year, you shouldn't be paying more than $1,200 a month to live in the neighborhood of your choice,” he said.

In May 2019, Columbus voters approved a $50 million bond package for affordable housing.

In his address, the mayor also stressed the importance of reducing the gun violence that led to the city breaking a record for homicides last year.

"I have declared gun violence a public health crisis and called upon our Health Commissioner, Dr. Mysheika Roberts, to work with other city departments to make sure that we have a holistic approach for dealing with it," Gunther said.

"However, we cannot ignore the effect of governors, legislatures and courts who have repeatedly tied our city’s hands, limited our ability to determine our own destiny, and stood in our way as we seek to protect those we are entrusted to serve," he said.

The speech came hours after Gov. Mike DeWine signed a bill to let Ohioans carry concealed guns without a permit. The legislature has also moved in recent years to keep cities from passing gun laws that are stronger than state policies.

Ginther also spoke about other crime prevention programs, and lowering the infant mortality.

Williams was a reporter for WOSU. Natasha is an Emmy Award-winning journalist and has more than 20 years of television news and radio experience.