Year in Review: 2023

Year in Review: 2023

Another landmark year for housing reform

Locally and nationwide, housing reform efforts continued to gain steam in 2023. Issues like parking minimums, single-family zoning, ADUs, and building codes are finally being critically examined in cities across the country as key factors to address our crisis of affordability.

Since our founding in January 2021, N4MN—Columbus has pushed an agenda of supply, stability, and subsidy rather than a sole focus on housing supply.

We care—for example—not only about building more housing, but also about preserving existing units by tightly regulating short-term rentals and reining in the growing problem of investors purchasing single-family homes.

In 2024, we’ll continue this broad approach to housing advocacy, education, and organizing.

Our 2023 Accomplishments

Sent support letter to protect Darby Creeks

  • N4MN Columbus urged the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to protect Central Ohio’s waterways by re-categorizing the Big and Little Darby Creeks as Outstanding National Resource Waters. We have plenty of space in our cities to welcome new neighbors without building in pristine ecosystems such as the Darby watershed.
  • New housing—which we clearly need—must be built sustainably in areas that are already developed. While it’s difficult to imagine, 150,000 fewer people live in urban Columbus now than in 1960. That’s a population loss of nearly 40%. Moreover, there are 8,890 fewer housing units in the historic 1950 city boundaries today than in 1960. We have plenty of space in our cities to welcome new neighbors without building in pristine ecosystems such as the Darby watershed.

Sent letter in support of Columbus City Council’s Housing Agenda

  • In November, we sent a letter to City Council in support of housing policy reforms under consideration. We told councilmembers that N4MN was highly supportive of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Pilot Program, Vacant and Foreclosure Registry and Rent Increase Notification.
  • We also recommended council focus on three additional areas.

1. Increase transparency of individual owners on Limited Liability Corporations (LLC). Many jurisdictions are taking actions to unmask the owners behind shell corporations acquiring and holding properties, as well as creating a searchable public database containing those names. LLCs have been shown to contribute to urban blight and even facilitate money laundering.

2. Regulate short-term rentals (STRs) to prevent loss of critical housing stock. To preserve more housing, short-term rentals should stay true to the “sharing economy” vision of inviting guests into the homes of owner-occupants. The proliferation of STRs removes critical housing units from the stock of available units in the region, leading to increased housing scarcity while inflating the prices of long-term and short-term rental units and single-family homes targeted for conversion into revenue-generating STRs.

3. Re-examine the Renter’s Choice (0495-2021) legislation to prevent predatory practices by participating third-party entities. A recent investigation has shown that companies offering this insurance program—which only insures landlords, even though the tenant pays the monthly premium—use discriminatory calculative processes exploiting low-income tenants by extending and increasing non-refundable payments in-lieu of a refundable security deposit.

Published eight newsletters and increased subscribers by 22%

  • That’s about 9,000 words of fresh content for you throughout the year

Welcomed about 30 folks to our Spring Strategy Session

A fantastic exercise and demonstration of what a bunch of strangers can do with 90 minutes at the public library, the strategy session allowed people interested in N4MN to engage in critical dialogue and offer real-time feedback. Attendees told us to focus on positive messaging, like how N4MN wants to give people more housing options throughout Central Ohio, as well as some other key points:

  • Normalizing development
  • Recognizing developer size, capital, and political power
  • Climate change and benefits of walkable communities
  • Housing options for all life stages in every neighborhood
  • Linking jobs to housing (e.g. Intel in New Albany)

Offered endorsements for pro-housing candidates

Distributed 35 yard signs in one night as a promotional partner with Building Inclusive Communities

Added more folks to the ‘Supporters’ page on our website

  • It’s important to show the many reasons regular people in Central Ohio care about esoteric issues of land use and housing policy. That’s what our Supporters page does—let us know if you’d like to be featured too!