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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Entries in affordable housing (14)

Friday
Feb142014

Upcoming CAHA Meeting

Next week the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance Meeting will feature a discussion of evictions over the last year and a look at the environmental issues associated with housing.  Housing Specialist, Robert Fuchs of Cleveland Housing Court will talk about the numbers of evictions and trends within the City of Cleveland.  We have not had the rental assistance funding we had in 2010, and so we will see how this impacts evictions in Cleveland.  He will be prepared to answer questions as well.  Cleveland represents about half the evictions within Cuyahoga County. 

Michael Piepsny, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Watch will talk about green building, lead safety issues and an update on the agencies activities.  EHW has a plan to assist Medicaid providers with providing healthy homes to at-risk populations.   EHW oversees green energy projects and advocating for healthy homes. 

The meeting is Monday March 3 at 1:30 p.m. in the lower level of the US Bank Building where the HUD offices are in Cleveland.  The meeting is at 1350 Euclid Ave. in the Playhouse Sqaure district.  We also typically get an update on troubled property in Cuyahoga County.  The meetings are open to the public.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday
Oct082013

More on the Local Impact of the Government Shutdown

Yesterday at the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance Meeting we learned a little more about the impact of the Federal Government shutdown on housing and homeless programs.   The FHA is still in business doing verification of home loans, unfortunately, the IRS is not in business to verify income.  This will grind the home sales market to a standstill eventually.   No one is working at HUD to sign off on projects currently under construction.  It makes it difficult to pay construction and tradesmen working on subsidized housing projects locally. Contrary to popular belief there are affordable housing projects being developed locally.   There are permanent supportive housing projects that are supposed to open this winter, but there is no one at HUD to sign off on the work.  

The Housing Authority has money available through the end of the calendar year for Public Housing.   The voucher program only has funds through the end of October.  No one knows what will happen after the witching hour of Halloween.  Will staff be furloughed?  Will rents be paid to landlords?   Will there be an attempt to prioritize which bills to pay.   There are already a mythology in the community about voucher holders and the impact on the neighborhoods with only half the available properties willing to accept a tenant receiving a subsidy from the Housing Choice Voucher program.  This would certainly cause harm to the organization and their image in the community if they run out of money because of the government shutdown. 

More to come...

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry. 

 

Wednesday
Oct022013

Response to Hateful Letter to the Editor

This letter that I penned was never published in the Plain Dealer, but the original letter should be corrected with facts and in my opinion should have never been published because it is hate speech.  There is a link to the original letter, but I would avoid reading it if you have high blood pressure.

Dear Plain Dealer Editor:

I was surprised to read the letter from Carmen Melillo Sr. in the Plain Dealer on September 6, because I was unaware that editorial policy had changed to allow grossly inaccurate and stereotypical information to be published without any clarification.  I have never understood why a paper allows anonymous hateful and incorrect comments on their electronic platform, but did not realize that the paper had decided to allow blatantly false claims in the letter’s section. 

Your letter writer seems to confuse the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program for all subsidized housing in the community since in all of Cleveland there are only 7,000 total vouchers being used and they are spread out all over the City.  They are not concentrated in one building or one area of town. Your own statistics published with the article on “social engineering by Stephen Koff shows that the large majority of CMHA clients are African American, and so your letter writer’s reference to “bad habits and culture” has to be seen as subtle forms of racism. 

There is no evidence that the majority of voucher holders in Cleveland were not born and raised in the community.  There is no evidence that those who need help with their rent are more violent or have a problem with addiction at a higher rate than other tenants.  Your letter writer seems angry with absentee landlords, but misdirects that anger at tenants who are just trying to find housing for their family as they struggle to find a better job.  Nearly everything in this letter was incorrect and full of hate.  The Housing Choice Voucher program and voucher holders should not be libeled in this way and the readers deserve opinion pieces based on some actual facts. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday
Sep242013

NEOCH Endorses Health and Human Services Levy

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board of Trustees debated the merits of the replacement human services levy on the November ballot and decided to support Issue 1.  For those who do not know, the County has placed a replacement levy on the ballot for November 5 to support Health and Human Services locally.  This is the first time there will be a vote in an odd year when there are typically only local municipal issues on the ballot.  This became necessary because of huge cuts in the last two budgets from the State of Ohio to local governments and the hostility toward expanding Medicaid to serve our population.  

This levy will replace the levy that was set to expire at the end of 2014, and will increase the property taxes for residents.  This is repugnant that homeowners in Ohio must continually increase their own local taxes to pay for schools and human services because state leaders have abandoned their responsibilities.   The State of Ohio does not help with funding the shelters taking a back seat to the local and federal governments.  They continue to reduce support for alcohol and drug services.  They do not adequately support public transportation.  They have never brought justice to the funding of public schools and now are supporting a failing charter school system.   The state does very little to assist with the affordable housing crisis and did nearly nothing when faced with a quadrupling of foreclosures in the State.   They have not stepped forward to provide health care to every citizen in Ohio and only care about lowering taxes.  They seem feckless in the face of job stagnation, growing family homelessness, and a mental health crisis.  In an environment in which they close their eyes at the state level to everything but lowering taxes, it destabilizes the local community.  We are forced to continue to find revenue sources for these services that should be covered by the State of Ohio.

We urge a yes vote on Issue 1 and urge State legislators to take responsibility for some of these issues such as poverty, universal health care (including behavioral health), school funding, and expanding affordable housing.   With nearly one third of the poor people in Ohio living in Cuyahoga County, we cannot solve these big issues alone.  We need Medina, Geauga, Hamilton and Butler county resources to stabilize the housing situation, expand job opportunities with large scale infrastructure projects, universal access to pre-k school, and real preventative behavioral health care.  Without a state government willing to role up their sleeves and solve problems, we are stuck trying to cobble together levies and tax schemes to keep what we have going.  We do not want to shut down the shelters next year (already with federal cut backs, we will not be able to fund two projects).  We do not want to reduce access to detox or street outreach for the mentally ill. We do not want more addicts ending up in jail or more women seeking shelter in the house of a serial killer.   NEOCH urges a yes vote on Issue 1 the expanded Health and Human Services Levy to keep our current safety net. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Sep132013

The Future of CAHA

The last CAHA meeting was about the future of HUD in Ohio.  In a cost saving move HUD will be closing nearly all of the HUD multifamily field offices in the United States. These are the offices that oversee private landlords who serve low income families (Lupica, Rainbow Terrace, Emeritus House).  Every resident in the building gets a subsidy from the federal government.  HUD monitors the quality of these buildings, assures compliance with federal rules and is the government watchdog to make sure that the buildings maintain occupancy rates.  The Cincinnati office has already closed with Columbus and Cleveland closing their multifamily offices in 2014.   They are moving staff to DETROIT?? and Chicago.  Does anyone find it ironic that HUD multifamily staff will be located in a bankrupt city with a similar number of abandoned properties as the area around Chernobyl in the Ukraine?

We started CAHA twelve years ago when many properties were on the verge of being foreclosed on, and Cleveland was slated to lose over 1,000 units of affordable housing.  We wanted to stop the destruction of Longwood (now Arbor Park) and other large properties.  We also wanted to know with enough warning if properties were "in trouble" before foreclosure and the loss of subsidized housing.  We were concerned that HUD was manufacturing a crisis. They had allowed properties to rot while still sending out a subsidy to these absent landlords every month.  Then they would foreclose on the property giving every tenant a voucher, which they could use anywhere in the United States. Cleveland got a rotted out shell of a building while the owner walked away with millions in building maintenance money he used for his annual vacation or boat with no penalty. The tenants got a voucher and we lost an affordable place for people to live in the future.  We felt that if HUD were doing their jobs they would never allowed the property to fall into disrepair.  HUD, because of a lack of oversight, created a situation in which a property was not fit for human habitation and then instead of funding a new building or forcing building owners to improve the conditions, they just shut the buildings down. No fuss and with the stroke of a pen, the community has fewer places that are affordable for poor people.

CAHA was started so that City, County and advocates can hear directly from HUD regarding buildings that may be in trouble.  We can get updates and get ahead of any problems.  There are similar groups in Columbus and Cincinnati as well.  Now that these offices are closing what is next for the residents and building owners.  HUD staff gave a detailed presentation of why they will be closing the office and possible plans.  There will still be HUD staff in Cleveland, but just no one to update us about the buildings in our community.  Staff have been assigned to oversee buildings from around the country.   So the HUD Staff assigned to a problem building in Cleveland may be in the Seattle Washington multifamily office.   They may never have seen the building they are assigned to oversee.  They are not able to come to Cleveland to report on the building and why it is in trouble. 

It is likely that CAHA will continue, but we may need to figure out a new way to get information from HUD. We may need to video conference with the Detroit office.  We may need to receive information electronically or seek written reports on the status of multifamily properties in Cuyahoga County.  We will figure out a way to get the information so we never again are in danger of losing thousands of units of affordable housing. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.