RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio
Today in Ohio history
May 29, 1851 – Sojourner Truth delivers her famous Ain't I a Woman? speech at the Woman’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio. Born into slavery in the state of New York, Soujouner Truth became a well known anti-slavery speaker. Her speech was delivered extemporanously at the Women's Convention in Akron, Ohio, in 1851, and did not originally have a title.
This week's rental housing news
March 7, 2023.Ideastream Public Media. Growing number of Cleveland residents take advantage of free legal advice under Right to Counsel. "The RTC-C report shows that clients had concerns beyond just eviction – such as securing time to move or securing rent assistance. Many clients had multiple concerns. 'Avoiding eviction judgement doesn’t necessarily mean people stay in their homes,' said Stout Managing Director Neil Steinkamp. 'Some of those people don’t want to stay in their homes … there’s a portion of people who no longer have a good relationship with their landlord or just can’t stay in that home or don’t want to because it’s not safe for them to stay in that home.' ” In other words don't confuse "right to counsel" with eviction diversion.
March 7, 2023. Ideastream. The price of rent is stabilizing but gaps persist in rural areas. "A report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that the biggest gaps between average rent and average wages happened in Ohio’s rural counties – like Athens, Licking and Morrow. And the problems–and solutions–are different for those parts of the state."
March 7, 2023. Signal Cleveland. Cleveland sues owners, managers of Shaker Boulevard apartments. "The lawsuit comes as Mayor Justin Bibb’s administration pledges a more aggressive tack in enforcing housing code. The City of Cleveland is suing the owners and managers of a run-down set of apartment buildings blocks from Shaker Square that have frustrated tenants and public officials for months. The lawsuit, filed Monday in Cleveland Housing Court, marks a significant escalation in the city’s enforcement of housing codes against corporate owners. The city is asking Judge Moná Scott to hand the buildings over to a receiver who could authorize repairs." About damn time! Kudos to Mary Boyle and her agitators.
March 8, 2023. USA TODAY. I've got five babies in the car': Inside the fight to get on affordable housing waitlists. "Because affordable housing is rapidly disappearing throughout the U.S., many people are increasingly willing – or even needing – to move for it. The scarcity has led to a nationwide phenomenon called “waitlist shopping,” where poor families scour the internet for open affordable housing waitlists, effectively playing a game of geography roulette as they try to secure subsidized housing far from home." Thanks GregS. PS: Biden's budget calls for a marginal increase for housing in 2024...not the universal vouchers he promised during his campaign.
March 11, 2023. Columbus Dispatch Landlord backpedals after income-discrimination issue raised at Columbus apartments "Hours after The Dispatch published a story about source-of-income discrimination at an apartment complex on Columbus' Northeast Side — and three days after the City Attorney's office sent a letter to the private-equity company that owns the development — the company told tenants they can continue to use federal Section 8 housing vouchers to pay rent. This may allow 61 voucher-holding families to stay in their homes at Morse Glen apartments — although uncertainties remain."
Mar. 1, 2023. WTVG. City of Toledo launches landlord and tenant surveys "The City of Toledo’s Department of Housing and Community Development is launching two surveys on its website to improve the renting experience in Toledo. The City says the surveys are aimed at gathering feedback from landlords and tenants about their experiences in the city’s rental market. The surveys are part of the City’s efforts to enhance landlord-tenant relationships and ensure that both parties understand their rights and responsibilities within their landlord-tenant agreements. The City encourages all landlords and tenants to take part in the surveys and share their experiences renting in Toledo. 'With nearly 49% of Toledoans being renters, these surveys will provide crucial data to inform and drive initiatives that will benefit our community, such as stronger enforcement of current ordinances,' said Coleena Ali, Toledo’s Manager of Tenant and Landlord Services. “This initiative underscores the city’s commitment to understanding the needs of its residents and enhancing the rental experience for all.'
RHINO's Six Steps Project is an effort to focus grassroots attention on looking beyond incremental change.
2025? YES, that's how deep the housing policy stagnation has become as political forces have dashed hopes for real change in the wake of the 2008 and 2020 housing crises.
Facing a divided Congress in the 2023-2024 session, transformative change is unlikely in the short term. However laying the foundations for transformative changes following the 2024 elections, can make a difference.
What just happened? Because Congress was unprepared for the Pandemic Recession of 2020, well-meaning solutions like eviction moratoriums, emergency rental assistance, child tax credits and american rescue plan among others) stopped the bleeding, but failed to change the system of bandaid tinkering with US Housing policy (ie. the five legged stool).
In fact, stimulus payments likely contributed to the housing affordability crisis that put stable housing out of reach for ordinary families. as the Pandemic recession morphed into the Pandemic Inflation. All hands were on deck, but rowing in opposite directions.
Three housing related recessions in just 12 years underscores the fact that the root of this recurring cycle is a broken housing policy strategy. Todd Rungren observes "The mysterious mad man with his hand on the lever/Don't seem to never ever want to let you off"
Episodes 1 and 2 are available for review. The series will continue shortly. Read more about the Six Steps project.