POMEROY — Things do not look good for economic growth in Meigs and most other counties in the Appalachian region if results of a recent study by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OFHA) and the Ohio Department of Development is accurate.
The OFHA paints a rather gloomy picture of any economic growth which would necessitate the need for additional housing — except that which is subsidized — in the Appalachian area over the next five years. It was also predicted that over the next five years there will a need for more senior rental housing.
Key findings included in the study report released this week show that the majority of the 32 Appalachian Ohio counties are projected to experience less population and household growth over the next five years than the state of Ohio as a whole.
The report lists one exception, that being Athens County which has a large Ohio University student population. The remaining 31 counties in Appalachian Ohio, however, according to the report, “have lower shares of renter-occupied housing than the state of Ohio, and show little need for more at this time.”
However, over the next five years, the report indicates that the region is projected to experience a higher increase (about 10 percent) in the need for rental units for senior citizens.
It further refers to the region as “having generally experienced a more severe adverse economic impact during the past few years with a higher unemployment rate compared to more developed areas of the state which has meant that there has been an increased demand for government-subsidized conventional rental housing in the region.”
“OHFA strives to provide all Ohioans with access to affordable housing opportunities,” said OHFA Executive Director Doug Garver. “This report has provided us with the information and tools necessary to strategize effective avenues to increasing the availability of affordable housing in the Appalachian region of the state.”