I must admit that I get choked up every fall as I see young kids with their new backpacks and back-to-school clothes walking down the street with a parent to their first day of class. Though my kids are grown, out of college and working, it brings back memories of those milestone transitions. No longer a kindergartner, but a first grader. No longer an elementary student, but a middle schooler, etc. At a recent OCCH staff meeting I asked for a show of hands if a staffer had a child entering kindergarten, first grade, middle school, high school or college for the first time. A lot of hands shot up.
Such transitions are scary and exciting all at the same time. As I began to think about what to write for this communication’s President Message, I thought that I should update you about some of the big staff transitions at OCCH. There are several significant ones.
Well, enough about us! We should be talking about another transition: the transition to a new Governor in the state of Ohio. Whatever your opinion of the last few governors, I think you will agree affordable housing issues did not count among their top priorities. A change in administration provides a great opportunity to press for an elevation of our issues. We need more resources to address increasing need and new leadership from the chief executive of the state to focus on housing issues.
Resources should include increased funding for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, a new state Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a rental housing subsidy and capital resources for special needs populations and support for local efforts to deal with the eviction epidemic.
New leadership should include the appointment of qualified administrators at the Ohio Development Services Agency and ensuring that any appointments to the board of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency do not politicize that effective organization.
I urge you to work with all of the advocacy and trade associations to press our case for these changes.
I look forward to seeing you at the Ohio Housing Conference around Election Day to talk about this particular transition!!!
Hal Keller, President