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LaKeisha Cook Written Candidate Responses

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?


After I graduated from Wright State University in 2008, I was unable to find a high-paying job to afford the rent to move out of my grandmother's home. This is essential because as there is a significant amount of high-paying job loss in 2021. Additionally, there are gaps in pay between African-Americans women and their counterparts. Several years ago, I worked at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health Services and would assist my clients in finding affordable housing. This is extremely difficult to find someone offering affordable housing in Cincinnati. This means we have to refer clients from one department to the next for services. In San Francisco, they realize that discrimination, lack of accountability for property managers, case manager time, and anyone without a case manager was unable to find housing in their city. Therefore, they redesigned their program, allowing all property managers, and individuals who need housing to apply at one centralized location. I would implement, updating the Cincinnati website to have a centralized location for housing: affordable rental units, affordable homeownership, and housing lottery. This will provide more diversity, equity, and inclusion in our city allowing for property managers to offer their apartments in different locations throughout the city. This reduces frustration from clients and case managers who have to call a multitude of places to find out who is providing affordable housing in their city. This would also allow case managers to have more time to work on behavior modification skills with people in the community. I do believe housing is a universal human right. The essential operation for it to become universal is the creation of a system in which it makes it accessible for everyone in the city.


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 implement, updating the Cincinnati website to have a centralized location for housing: affordable rental units, affordable homeownership, and housing lottery. This would provide data on the landlords that are providing housing for most of the individuals with a disability. Currently, there is a big push to give developer assistance to come into the city. However, I suggest we use that money on a payment assistance program to assist smaller property managers and homeowners to update their facility/homes.


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 will support legislation that requires Cincinnati to budget to go for affordable housing. A committee will be established before the legislation to provide oversight and transparency for Cincinnati. Additionally, supporting legislation that will require new residential buildings with more than 10 or 20 require affordable housing. This legislation is done in large metropolitan areas as they have tried to re-caliber their lack of affordable housing and high homeless rate in their community. I want to ensure that we get in front of our increasing homeless population and the lack of homeownership. The second legislation will be through tax abatement, for African-American homeownership and repairs. This legislation will push back some of the gentrifications and reduce raising apartment rentals and property taxes. This legislation will have significant community input before we put it on the ballot for next year. I plan on coming out with a 90-day comprehensive reform plan to see if we can get some additional relief from the city before it goes to the ballot next year. Finally, ensuring the people supporting affordable housing will not take from other services in the community but only add to them.


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 support Pay-to-Stay housing protections that allow for families who are being evicted for non-payment of rent to pay all owed rent and to stay in their home. I will push, in earnest, for housing protections to protect the tenants and landlords. This will come from updating our website and system on how the community is reporting housing units issues. I will work with the realtor coalition and homeless coalition to work on a relief program. I want to make sure while we are helping people with affordable housing we are not causing landlords to go under in business.




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