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?
I am fortunate not to have personally experienced homelessness or housing insecurity. But that does not make me immune from the seriousness of the problems we are facing. I agree with President Franklin Roosevelt's declaration decades ago of a "Second Bill of Rights" which includes the right to a decent home. Sadly, all these years later, we are falling well short leaving President Obama to lament in 2010 that it is "simply unacceptable for individuals, children, and families and our nation's veterans to be faced with homelessness in this country." The problem is most severe in Cincinnati with so many here living in poverty. We have too many kids who call a car their home every night. I will promote policies and programs that lift people out of poverty and push for a fair and equitable affordable housing system so that we allow more people the dignity of safe housing and increase minority home ownership.
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?
This is an unacceptable statistic. It's hard enough to find affordable housing in this City, but to find housing that is affordable, available, and accessible is nearly impossible for people with disabilities. I would propose that we incorporate the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into our building code and require that Affordable Housing Trust Fund monies be made available to builders, remodelers, owners, and tenants of affordable housing units for that purpose.
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 would propose ordinances that require a certain percntage of the City's Affordable Housing Trust Fund be invested in developing affordable housing for those at the bottom of the economic ladder. I would also propose modifications to the City's tax incentive/abatement policies to give greater priority to affordable housing developments that meet the needs of this struggling population. In addtion, I would champion measures that would incentivize employers to pay living wages at a level that would enable their employees to afford a decent place to call home.
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 support "pay to stay" housing protections as one common-sense solution to our current eviction crisis. Residents should be able to avoid eviction by making full payment of overdue rent. And, I would support measures to provide/increase access to legal assistance for low-income renters in eviction proceedings.
Community Benefit Agreements should be put in place that are fairly negotiated and take heed of the needs of those living around any new development. And displacement, if it is unavoidable, should require much more than 30 days' notice, assistance in finding suitable replacement housing, financial support to help move and resettle, and, where possible, long range plans to help restore those displaced to their neighborhoods.