Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance (CAHA)
Every month for the past twelve years, representatives of HUD, developers, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, advocates, and social providers meet to discuss the state of affordable housing locally. The primary purpose of the group is to monitor affordable housing in the community and work to assure that there is not a reduction in affordable units in our community. We work with HUD to monitor the supply of subsidized housing in Cuyahoga County and preserve and expand the opportunity for those with local incomes to maintain that housing. Meetings include speakers to talk about issues, trends, programs, or recent information related to affordable housing in the area, along with time for updates and discussion.
CAHA includes representatives from these and many other community organizations and social service agencies: Alliance of Cleveland HUD Tenants, Cleveland Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), City of Cleveland Department of Community Development, Cleveland Tenants Organization, Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland State University, Cuyahoga County Department of Development, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Cuyahoga County Land Bank, The Housing Center, Emerald Development and Economic Network (EDEN), Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio, The Office of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Office of Senator Sherrod Brown, West Side Catholic Center, ADAMHS Board staff, Other charitable organizations and individuals
Who organizes and attends CAHA?
The program started back in 1997-8 when there were huge threats to affordable housing in Cleveland. The most immediate was the loss of Longwood Estates on Community College between East 33rd and East 40th and Woodland. Cleveland was facing the loss of 700 units in this complex along with hundreds of others scattered throughout the City. Advocates felt they needed a monthly meeting to find out accurate information about all these properties locally. We needed a venue where federal officials could meet with local officials from the City and County to talk about threats to affordable housing. The goal was to have a place where everyone could receive up to date information, and then could go to do advocacy and public policy with that information.
It was an attempt to be transparent and have everyone receive consistant information about affordable housing. Spencer Wells and Mike Foley of the Cleveland Tenants Organization took the lead along with Brian Davis of NEOCH and Cleo Busby of the Alliance of Cleveland HUD Tenants. Marty Gelfand of Congressman Dennis Kucinich's office was there at the beginning. Linda Warren and Bill Ressegger from the City of Cleveland were helpful in founding this organization. Phil Star (Cleveland State University) and Peter Iskin (Legal Aid Society) represented the CTO Board and helped to organize CAHA in the beginning. Warren served as its first chair and then Phil Star took over. Scott Pollack was always helpful representing CMHA at the beginning of CAHA, and regularly gave updates on the struggles of public housing locally. Doug Shelby was the local head of the local HUD office at the founding and for much of the first 12 years of CAHA. The monthly meeting always features an update on "troubled property" but also includes updates from social service providers and housing programs in Greater Cleveland.
Meetings involve regular updates from CMHA about current housing statistics and information, along with updates from the Cuyahoga County Community Development Department, Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, Cleveland Tenants Organization, and other Cleveland area development departments. Speakers address the current needs in affordable housing, issues affecting housing, and the foreclosure crisis.
Who speaks at CAHA?
Join us at our monthly meetings, on the first Monday of the month at HUD at 1:30 pm. unless there is a federal holiday. We post the CAHA meetings on our calendar of events. If you have any questions, feel free to contact NEOCH or the chair of CAHA, Phil Star at (216) 687-2241. If you would like to present at an upcoming CAHA meeting please send an e-mail to Chris Knestrick (at) neoch (dot) org. All meetings are open to the public.