Welcome to the Movement

Housing is a human right. Every child and adult deserves a good night of sleep before school or work. Our Affordable Housing Trust Fund could provide homes for 500 families each year, but it is currently empty. Until a revenue source is identified, our Affordable Housing Trust Fund will stay empty. That's why we are organizing this movement.

 

Cincinnati Action for Housing Now advocates that all people have a safe, affordable, and accessible place to call home. A fully-funded Affordable Housing Trust Fund looks like:

  • The planning, production, maintenance, or expansion of affordable housing, including inclusionary housing. This will include the rehabilitation of vacant and abandoned housing in historically neglected neighborhoods.

  • The acquisition, development, and new construction of housing that is affordable for people who earn less than $14,000 per year.

  • Direct housing placement services to low income households that assist them in their housing stability.

Meet the Steering Committee

Peg Fox, Committee Co-Chair and Member of the Endorsement Team

Peg serves as the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati. MARCC is an interfaith coalition of Judicatories, similar to denominations, that work on social justice issues to improve public policy and in the process civil discourse. The work of MARCC has a history of working on housing issues - displacement/affordable housing/homelessness. MARCC continues to advocate for local resolutions to critical housing issues and policies – Affordable Housing Trust Fund Ordinance, Vacant Properties Ordinance, Short Term Rental Ordinance, Land Installment Ordinance. MARCC cares about equal access to safe and affordable housing. People need housing security. It contributes to  their overall health and well-being, and makes room for a more diverse and inclusive community. MARCC wants to lend a hand in making that happen by supporting dedicated, protected funding for that purpose.

Josh Spring, Committee Co-Chair

Josh is the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Area Coalition for the Homeless since 2009. He is a licensed Social Worker with a degree from the College of Social Work from Xavier University. Josh began learning about homelessness directly from those who were experiencing it. While working as a Social Worker for tenants of Over-the-Rhine Community Housing's 250 units of affordable housing, he noticed that residents repeatedly experienced the same or similar issues. This influenced his desire to organize systemic efforts to take on the root causes of homelessness. 

Matt Strauss, Endorsement Team Lead

Matt first took an interest in community development in high school when he volunteered at rehab houses and gave speeches in support of ReSTOC and the Drop-Inn Center in Cincinnati’s Over the Rhine neighborhood. In college he turned his interest in historic architecture into an internship in the Urban Conservator’s office. In 1990, Matt started on a two-track path of community development and theology when he began his Religious Studies major at about the same time he started rehabbing houses for the Camp Washington Community Board.  He continued community development work in Newark, New Jersey as a VISTA and while completing his master’s degree at the Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he specialized in 19th Century German religious criticism.  In 1998 he began teaching a variety of courses as an adjunct at Mt. St. Joseph University specializing in World Religions.  Matt joined Price Hill Will in 2005 when he got their Buy-Improve-Sell program off the ground. He also headed efforts to tackle issues of vacant and nuisance properties as well as boosting home sales.  He then worked to promote the neighborhood.  Matt joined MCURC in April 2013 to lead our real estate development and marketing efforts.

Patricia Garry, Member of the Endorsement Team

Patricia is a long-time community and housing activist in Cincinnati, working since the early 70's to improve housing conditions and housing production for Cincinnati residents.   She is a co-founder and previous Executive Director of the CDC Association of Greater Cincinnati, now Homebase, and serves as co-vice-chair on the Board of the Affordable Housing Advocates.  She is also a member of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 

Bill Woods, Member of the Public Relations Team

Bill Woods is the founder and President of Applied Information Resources, an urban research/public policy non-profit. He is a former President of the boards of MARCC and Common Cause Ohio as well as a board member of Advocates for Affordable Housing.

Amanda Lynn Barker, Community Organizer

Amanda is the Director of Community Organizing with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. Her political advocacy experience includes grassroots community organizing for statewide environmental justice campaigns in California and Oregon, and she has lobbied for healthcare access reform with the California State Legislature. Amanda believes in mobilizing the power of the community to achieve systemic change.

Annabelle Arbogast, Member of the Public Relations Team

Annabelle Arbogast is a member of Public Allies Cincinnati, an AmeriCorps leadership development program. She completed a master’s degree in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati in 2014 and is a doctoral candidate in Social Gerontology at Miami University.

Alice Skirtz, Community Activist 

Alice Skirtz, LISW-S, Social Worker social services and emergency shelter, Family Shelter Partnership; Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition co-founder (1984), and current Board Member; author Econocide: Elimination of the Urban Poor.

Marsha L. White, Member of the Endorsement Team

Marsha L. White has worked in the social services field for over 18 years. In her current role as a Financial and housing instructor with Easterseals Serving Greater Cincinnati, Marsha assists Veterans, low-moderate income families and individuals with locating rental housing, credit counseling, budgeting, pre-home buyer, and pre-rental counseling. Marsha is also a member of various committees such as The Affordable Housing Advocates, and The Cincinnati Action for Housing Now committee. 

Joele Newman, Community Activist 

Joele Newman is a part of the Community Education team at Peaslee Neighborhood Center as a Community Organizer and Youth Program Facilitator. She works on Peaslee's neighborhood and city wide campaigns that focus on equitable development practices, transparent decision making processes and large scale community engagement. Joele has a passion for equity and social change in communities and believes in the power of organic organizing.

Libbie Crawford, Community Activist 

Libbie Crawford works in social justice in Cincinnati especially with those experiencing temporary homelessness with Interfaith Hospitality Network (IHN) of Greater Cincinnati. She has worked for OCLC (a library services organization) and was the Chair of the President's Inclusion Council. She is IHN Coordinator for Saint Timothy's Episcopal Church where she coordinates the efforts of 3 congregations to support  the mission of IHN and works on the congregational outreach committee to recruit and support congregations in their work with IHN.  She is secretary of Faith and Community Alliance, and secretary of Friends of the Taft Legacy.  She worked at the AMOS Project and coordinated efforts of volunteers in the Safe & Healthy Communities campaign and deeply understands the intersection of housing and healthy communities. Growing up in Tuskegee, Alabama during the civil rights movement, she saw her mother fight for all to have the right to vote and to get an equal but not separate education and she continues the fight for all to have the same rights. 

Katy Heins, Field Implementation Team Co-Lead

Katy Heins, Senior Organizer with the Center for Community Change. Katy has been an organizer with
the Center for Community Change for eleven years. Presently she is part of the Housing Trust Fund
team, lending organizing expertise to local and state campaigns. Previously at the Center, she has
worked on the national health care campaign, immigrant rights campaign and jobs campaign as well as
being instrumental in developing with CCC’s state partner, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, a project
call Ohio Movement Builders which works to organize new leaders through a robust training and
education program allowing for opportunities of empowerment so that people join the movement for
social change.
Before joining the Center, Katy was the Executive Director of the Contact Center in Cincinnati whose
mission is to empower low-income people, especially women, to organize for power in their
communities and their lives. Katy, also was the lead organizer for Let Justice Roll which was the faith
and volunteer component of the successful effort to raise Ohio’s minimum wage and nationally.
Katy is based out of Cincinnati Ohio.

Michael Volmer, Member of the Issues Committee

Michael Volmer was born and raised in Northern Kentucky and has lived in Cincinnati for the past five years. Mike graduated from Northern Kentucky University and has been a practicing social worker and Case Manager since 2012. Mike began his career as a Mental Health Case Manager at a large Mental Health agency in Cincinnati. Mike has worked at Caracole since 2014 as a front-line worker, medical and social service coordinator and housing case manager for people living with HIV. During this time Mike’s focus has been on housing for his clients and advocating for housing services within the community. Mike represents Caracole at The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless meetings and Serves on the Board as Treasure for Affordable Housing Advocates Cincinnati.

Heather Sturgill, Member of the Issues Committee

After having been the Interim Director of Citizens for Civic Renewal (CCR) where Heather Sturgill encouraged all to become civically aware and engaged, she realized that many were unable to participate due to various barriers.  She then decided to focus on using her Master of Community Planning degree from UC’s School of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP) to address barriers to community living for disadvantaged populations.  She then contracted with the Center for Independent Living Options (CILO) to work on specific barriers having to do with housing, transportation and personal assistance services.  This led to being President of Housing Opportunities Made Equal and Chair of the Cincinnati Accessibility Board of Advisors (CABA) as well as other work addressing barriers to community living.

Janiah Miller, Field Implementation Team Co-Lead

Janiah Miller, born and raised in the Greater Cincinnati area, is a recent graduate of Northern Kentucky University. Her advocacy has taken many forms: she has provided support for political campaigns and offices, assisted in legislative and constituent support, and built intersectional coalitions within the community. She currently serves for Cincinnati as the Director of Community Relations for Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney.

Russel Hairston, Community Activist 

Russell Hairston became the Executive Director of the Avondale Development Corporation in January 2017, where he is responsible for administration, fundraising and sustainability development.  He has more than 25 years of experience developing and implementing high-impact, award-winning strategies to improve urban neighborhoods. 

Alice Flanders, Public Relations Team Co Lead

Alice Flanders was born and raised in Cincinnati and graduated from CCM at the University of Cincinnati. Alice has been outspoken and passionate about injustice in our city and our world for years but has only recently joined the fight for affordable housing, and couldn't be happier that she's doing it with Cincinnati Action for Housing Now as the PR Team Co-Lead. 

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