Director's Message

  • Executive Director Sean Thomas

This spring has proven what the affordable housing community can accomplish when we work together towards the mission of providing safe, quality housing. I want to thank our development community for your continued advocacy efforts for affordable housing. This March, Congress passed and President Trump signed into law a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund the federal government through September 30, 2018. In this bill were two key provisions that will help drive our mission.

First, OHFA's allocation authority for Housing Tax Credits (HTC) will be boosted by 12.5 percent each year for four years (2018 – 2021). This will enable us to fund an additional three to five affordable rental housing developments each year.

Furthermore, developers of HTC properties will now have the option to use a new income averaging rule to serve households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), as long as the average income limit of the property is no more than 60 percent AMI. With this change, we will be able to help a greater number of extremely low-income households in Ohio. Thank you for your advocacy on behalf of Ohioans who will benefit from the additional affordable housing opportunities provided by this law.

Spring also begins the homebuying season and our marketing campaign to inform Ohioans of how OHFA can help them find the homes of their dreams. The Office of Communications and Marketing, led by Chief Communications Officer Molly Moses, has begun a strategy that involves radio, television, print, digital and social media advertising. These combined efforts lead potential homebuyers to our My Ohio Home website where they can use a pre-qualification tool to help determine if they may be eligible for one of our programs.

The Office of Housing Policy is currently engaged in the planning process for the Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Plan. This plan will include updates to last year's four strategic priorities and address input from many stakeholders, including the Board, OHFA staff and other external organizations. Beginning in 2018, OHFA's program offices have participated in work groups to update and modify our strategic initiatives in light of current realities and policy changes. Throughout April and May, these priorities will be reviewed by OHFA's Board and the Annual Plan Advisory Committee. We also welcome feedback from the public; for more information, please visit our website for future updates.

In March, OHFA welcomed a new Board member, Duana Patton, CEO of the Ohio District 5 Area Agency on Aging, Inc., who will serve as OHFA's expert on issues relating to seniors in Ohio. Ms. Patton has over 30 years of experience in the non-profit sector where she has a proven track record of growing businesses and developing teams. In 2011, she founded the Area Agency on Aging Foundation. In addition, Catherine Cawthon was approved for another term on the OHFA Board. I am looking forward to working with both Ms. Patton and Ms. Cawthon in the years to come.

Finally, I would like to thank all of those who participated in our inaugural Race for a Place (to Call Home) 5K, including registrants, sponsors, volunteers and OHFA staff. I want to particularly thank Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH), who co-hosted the race, and UltraFit-USA for logistics consulting. Nearly 550 people registered for this race, and we were able to donate over $20,000 to the Community Shelter Board to help end homelessness in central Ohio.

Providing safe, quality and affordable housing is not a mission OHFA can meet alone, as shown in all of our efforts so far this year in legislation, the Annual Plan and the Race for a Place (to Call Home) 5K. I would like thank all of our partners for their support of OHFA's mission and affordable housing, and I look forward to what we can accomplish together in the months to come.

Sean Thomas
Executive Director
Ohio Housing Finance Agency