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It is easy to disregard a number. It is considerably harder to ignore people.

As illustrated by two recent incidents, the affordable housing crisis is having a costly impact on real people in plain sight. Central Ohio can no longer afford to avert its eyes if it ever could.

The harshness of the crisis was on full display on Christmas Day at Latitude Five25, a complex listed as “the affordable, amenity-filled city living you have been craving!”

The city of Columbus deemed more than 150 units in the complex formerly known as Sawyer Tower unsafe for those who called them home due to lack of heat, electricity, burst pipes and nonworking elevators.

The crisis played out again in the pages of the Columbus Dispatch this month when 61 families were told they had to leave their homes in the Morse Glen apartments owned by Connecticut-based Hamilton Point Investments.

Their infraction: using federal Section 8 housing vouchers to pay rent.

According to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein’s office, Hamilton Point Investments’ policy violates a 2021 city criminal ordinance that prohibits landlords from discriminating based on tenants’ source of income.

The company which touts “affordable apartment(s) for rent in Columbus” on its website backpaddled after the Dispatch’s reporting prompted a letter from Klein’s office.

Hamilton Point sent letters to tenants informing them that they can continue using the vouchers which “increases affordable housing choices for very low-income households by allowing families to choose privately owned rental housing.

What the numbers say about the need

People of all economic statuses must have a place to live in the Columbus region as it and the city continue to grow.