SAYING THE COUNTRY had lost sight of the importance of rental homes in a balanced national housing policy, MacArthur Foundation leaders announced that they are investing $32.5 million to fund affordable housing preservation efforts in 12 states, cities, and counties.

“The end of the housing bubble, foreclosures, and economic decline underscore the importance of affordable rental housing,” says Jonathan F. Fanton, foundation president. “We now have an opportunity to restore rental housing to its proper place and to reshape the policy environment so that it both encourages rental housing preservation and makes it easier to do so.”

Fanton describes the states and local jurisdictions receiving the grants as “innovators.” Their work is expected to preserve more than 70,000 affordable rental homes.

In Denver, a $250,000 grant and a $2 million program-related investment will help establish a new loan fund for transit-oriented development that preserves affordable rental housing near existing and planned transit stations.

The Ohio Preservation Compact was awarded $5 million to help develop a database of federally subsidized properties to evaluate preservation needs and opportunities. In addition, a loan fund will be established to provide low-cost financing. The compact is a consortium of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.

Ohio is facing a potential loss of subsidized rental housing that will affect nearly 43,000 families. Over the next 10 years, the new investment will help to ensure the preservation of more than 30 percent of the housing that is at risk, according to Ohio leaders.

The other preservation efforts are in Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon and Portland, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington and Seattle, and Los Angeles.