Housing Study Finds Shortages

A consortium of housing advocates and non-profit development companies released a study about housing on the West Side of Cleveland in late March. The study found that 12.5% of the total surveyed units were vacant, and only 1.1% of the total rental market was actually vacant and available on the open market for rent. 15.4% of the landlords reported that the units were vacant because they were unwilling to risk hassle or damage.

They found that 27% of the units surveyed had 3 bedrooms or more, while 17% of the vacant units had 3 bedrooms or more. 90% of the units actually available for rent were one and two bedroom units. The group found that 41% of those looking for housing reported that funding both decent and affordable housing was the most difficult challenge. Finally, a person has to earn 150% of the federal minimum wage to afford a two bedroom unit on the West side at $350 per month.

The group recommends:

  • Effective new short-term initiatives need to be identified and implemented to increase the number of family-sized low-income rental units that are actually on the market throughout the West Side.
  • Major attention needs to be given to further empirical investigation of the issues raised by the results of the study.
  • Policy and planning issues needs to be identified and addressed as a result of these findings by governmental, community-wide, and neighborhood based organizations.
  • Short term recommendations included:
  • Developing a campaign with both the public and private sectors to increase the availability of low-income tax credits to urban areas.
  • Conducting in-depth surveys of owners of vacant units to determine what would assist them in putting units on the rental market.
  • Cultivating new partners, i.e., management firms, hotel and motel industries, architects, etc. to bring new ideas to the table.
  • Developing different, cost efficient housing and ownership models for West Side low-income people, i.e., manufactured housing, condos, co-ops, row houses, housing parks
  • Developing programs which improve the capabilities of landlords and tenants.
  • The groups involved in the study were May Dugan Center, the Cleveland Tenants Organization, and Merrick House along with seven Community Development Corporations.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine and NEOCH, Issue 21, Cleveland Ohio June 1996