1.)What is your personal experience with homelessness and or housing insecurity? If you have not personally experienced homelessness or housing insecurity, but have been close to someone who was experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, what do you see as your role? Do you believe housing is a universal human right?
Housing is absolutely a human right. I've never officially been homeless, but I have personally dealt with housing insecurity. I have spent my entire adult life as a renter and have had over 20 different roommates, in my time. Rental prices have increased city-wide as high as near 500% in certain neighborhoods, but wages have hardly budged. Currently, my partner Jenna is the director of Homeless Services at Welcome House in Covington, KY. I hope to make sure that our city's budget is dedicated to providing shelter for those on the streets as well as the creation of new affordable housing units with stronger renter protections for tenants via a Tenant Bill of Rights. I'd also seek to build a stronger relationship with homelessness services in NKY (as most of those experiencing homelessness in NKY are originally from Cincinnati).
2.)According to federal statistics, almost 26% of the population (1 in 4) identify as having a disability, yet the percentage of housing that is accessible has stayed stagnant at less than 3% for over two decades. What steps will you take to make sure that builders and remodelers of housing affordable to households with low-incomes expand accessibility?
I would seek to make it a priority that any new housing construction (particularly, any housing that will be subsidized, in any form, by the city) will be creating accessible units and ideally making them eco-friendly, as well.
3.)It has been documented that Cincinnati is short of 28,000affordable homes. This 28,000 figure is specific to housing affordable to those of us at the bottom of the economic ladder, making around $18,000 a year or less, roughly Ohio's minimum. What new city legislation would you support or champion as a council member that would ensure more affordable housing is available to Cincinnati households at this level, where the need is greatest? What would this new legislation do?
I should see to pass a city overlay district modeled after what they implement in Cambridge, MA. In 2020, Cambridge, MA created a citywide overlay district that, by right, modifies zoning rules for any 100% affordable building. Anywhere in Cambridge, developers are allowed “incremental increases in density, limited increases in height, and relaxation of certain other zoning limitations for residential developments in which all units are made permanently affordable to households earning up to 100% of area median income.”
Development covered under the AHO cannot be challenged by lawsuit and goes through a limited public hearing process, which speeds construction. If a developer wishes to convert an existing building into affordable housing, the AHO applies to the conversion as if it were new construction. AHO buildings are not obligated to provide a set number of parking spaces. They are encouraged, but not required, to conform to their neighborhood’s design standards. They are, however, limited in height based on their neighborhood: in a dense area, AHO buildings may be up to 7 stories; in a residential one, 4 stories.
All AHO buildings must be rent-controlled. At least 50% of occupants must make 80% of area median income or less. Cambridge residents get preference to move into AHO units, as do former Cambridge residents who experienced no-fault evictions in the 12 months preceding move-in.
This legislation may not be popular with the status quo and assorted corporate interests, but it's what this city desperately needs to begin to solve our affordable housing crisis while centering the needs of the working class and working poor as a priority. I believe I am the candidate with the conviction and political will to fight for these necessary changes.
4.)About 50 Cincinnati families are now being evicted from their homes daily, and many more are effectively evicted when landlords raise rents and refuse to renew leases. Pay-to-Stay housing protections allow for families who are being evicted for non-payment of rent to pay all owed rent and to stay in their home. Will you push, in earnest, for housing protections? What additional city legislation will you pursue to curb, on a meaningful scale, Cincinnati’s massive crisis of eviction and displacement?
I will seek to introduce a Tenant Bill of Rights that would advocate for stronger renter protections to keep people in their homes as priority. A few of these rights include...
- Right to Green, Accessible, and Affordable Housing
- Right to Disclosure of Information - distribution of tenants’ rights information is included here
- Right to Rent Control
- Right to Protection from Discrimination
- Right to Organize