Te’Airea Powell 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?
Housing is absolutely a universal human right. While I have been fortunate enough to not have experienced homelessness as a community leader I have assisted many have. We have had quite a few young people (ages 18-26) come to our Rec Center/Basketball Court that were experiencing homelessness for one reason or another. My role was to help get them into a shelter for help. That process is difficult, long and quite discouraging as most shelters in the area are almost always at maximum capacity.
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?
New developments should be built to be handicap accessible, period. This is something that should/could be mandated especially if a developer is asking for special considerations like tax abatements. It will also be important to have conversations with CMHA and others to develop a plan to increase accessibility at their properties for those with disabilities and/or are wheelchair bound.
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?
The best type of legislation will be to relax zoning in some areas and continue to offer incentives, like tax abatements, when developers agree to have a certain number/percentage of affordable housing units in new developments. Revitalizing our neighborhoods will help with the need of affordable. While it is not necessarily legislation, revitalizing our neighborhoods by developing and updating existing multi unit structures instead of tearing them down can help tremendously.
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?
Yes, it's a must that myself and others push for housing protections. On a city level, I would push for a tenant's bill of rights. There are so many things that are stress points for people during this pandemic, guessing whether or not you will have to leave your home in 30 days because you are in an area that is being redeveloped and your landlord wants to get more money immediately is not okay. Many of the laws surrounding renters happens at the state level so I would be a vocal partner with our state reps to get stronger tenant rights in the entire state.