The National Association of Realtors has awarded a $3,500 grant to Columbia Board of Realtors and Columbia Housing Programs to address affordable housing issues, the city announced Tuesday.
The 2019 Housing Opportunity Grant will allow the city and its partners to host a housing summit in spring 2020, according to a city news release. At the summit, national experts will speak about “furthering affordable housing” within the community, the release said.
More than 16,000 Columbia households qualify as cost-burdened — meaning that 30% or more of the household’s gross income is needed to pay housing costs. A 2019 Affordable Housing & Community Development Fact Sheet states that 288 individuals in the Columbia area qualify as “literally homeless.”
The Columbia Board of Realtors was one of 40 recipients nationwide of the Level2 Housing Opportunity Grant this year. They received the maximum for the level of grant. According to the National Association of Realtors, a Level 2 grant is to “support activities that address a specific affordable housing issue in a community.” The number of recipients varies annually.
The press release notes that the City of Columbia Housing Programs Division and Board of Realtors plan to work together with the public, local nonprofits, private sector partners and community stakeholders to develop affordable housing within the community.
Columbia Housing Programs Manager Randy Cole said that Providence Bank, Central Bank, the Columbia Board of Realtors and the Columbia Housing Authority have agreed to collaborate so far.
Columbia Housing Programs and Columbia Board of Realtors have also partnered with the Housing and Development Commission and Columbia Community Land Trusts, he said.