RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio

Today in Ohio history

December 1, 2005 -- Rosa Park Day. Ohio was the first state to designate Dec. 1 as Rosa Parks Day to honor her life and legacy as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement. In 2005, State Representative, Joyce Beatty wrote, advocated and won unanimous support to pass Ohio’s legislation in the 50th-anniversary year of Mrs. Parks’ courageous act in refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white passenger, an act that sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Modern Civil Rights Movement.

This week's rental housing news

  • November 15, 2022 Roll Call. Senators to DOD: Address ‘bad actors’ among military landlords "Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren and other senators want the Pentagon to force laggard housing contractors to provide a "tenant bill of rights" as required by law. [...] After learning that one-third of the private landlords on U.S. military bases have failed to guarantee servicemembers a complete “tenant bill of rights” required by law, five senators have asked the Pentagon to force the companies to do so. In a six-page letter sent Monday to Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and obtained by CQ Roll Call, the senators urged him to change or kill contracts with these companies if necessary.

  • Nov 17, 2022. WEWS Channel 5. Her landlord was supposed to make repairs. Instead, he evicted her. "ELYRIA, Ohio — Federal housing authorities sometimes withhold rent from landlords receiving housing choice vouchers. Its goal is usually to force the homeowners to make repairs after failed inspections. A News 5 investigation found the policy doesn't always produce results. In fact, it can hurt the low-income tenants it intends to help." thanks to MarcusR for the tip.

  • Kass Greenburg reports "ABLE now has the Tenant Information Hotline covering ABLE’s service area in Western Ohio! Our number is 1-833-777-0277."

  • If you are talking to Congressional representatives over the holiday break, here are some talking points to share. Addressing the Affordable Housing Crisis Requires Expanding Rental Assistance and Adding Housing Units. Sure Representative or Staffer, we should build more housing units, but rental assistance makes them affordable.

  • AmyR writes: "Things are heating up in the Ohio Statehouse where leaders are making decisions right now on what to do in the final weeks of lame duck session. Please take a few moments today to advocate for the plan to invest $308 million in federal recovery funds on affordable housing! Our proposal is on State leaders’ list of options for spending Ohio’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and your advocacy can help push it over the finish line! So please call and/or email your state legislators and the Governor’s Office now to ask them to support affordable housing investment!" More here.

  • Walmart says: Our local community grants are awarded through an open application process and provide funding directly from Walmart and Sam’s Club facilities to local organizations in the U.S. Don’t know how to determine your local facility? Don’t worry, the application will assist you. Guidelines: Local Community grants range from a minimum of $250 to a maximum of $5,000. Eligible nonprofit organizations must operate on the local level (or be an affiliate/chapter of a larger organization that operates locally) and directly benefit the service area of the facility from which they are requesting funding. The 2022 grant cycle begins Feb. 1, 2022 and the application deadline is Dec. 31, 2022.

  • November 13, 2022. CityLab. Low-Income Apartments That Set a High Standard for Energy Efficiency "Built to the exacting Passive House guidelines, Brooklyn’s Chestnut Commons isn’t the usual New York City affordable housing complex. [...] The Brooklyn neighborhood of East New York is changing, to put it mildly. An area dominated by townhouses is transforming into a more dense community, thanks to a zoning change approved in 2016 allowing buildings up to 14 stories. The Green New Deal for Public Housing has spinoffs--read more here.

  • November 9, 2022. CityLab. At COP27, Building Emissions Loom Larger. "Cleaning up the carbon-intensive construction industry and reducing energy consumption in buildings have emerged as major topics at the UN climate summit. [...] The built environment has always played a major role in the climate crisis — a much-shared stat suggests that roughly 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to constructing and maintaining buildings. But the building sector hasn’t commanded a commensurate amount of attention at international climate conclaves."

  • Nov. 16, 2022. ProPublica. The Landlord & the Tenant. "A young mother rents a house near Milwaukee. The previous tenant tells her, 'Baby, they shouldn’t have let you move in.' ” Each of you has stories like this. They are nonetheless important to the discussion of social change. Thanks, Kara, for sharing.

  • November 13, 2022. The Daily. Sunday Read: Young and Homeless in Rural America. Focuses on Southeast Ohio. Thanks MarcusR for the tip.

  • NOV 15, 2022. Press Release. CFPB Reports Highlight Problems with Tenant Background Checks. "Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued two reports on the tenant background check industry. The reports describe how errors in these background checks contribute to higher costs and barriers to quality rental housing. Too often, these background checks – which purport to contain valuable tenant background information – are filled with largely unvalidated information of uncertain accuracy or predictive value. While renters bear the costs of errors and false information in these reports, they have few avenues to make tenant screening companies fix their sloppy procedures. The CFPB’s analysis of more than 24,000 complaints highlighted the renter challenges associated with the industry’s failures to remove wrong, old, or misleading information and to provide adequate investigations of disputed information." Local advocates have 2 choices: "well that's just how it is" or bring more charges against tenant screening agencies and the landlords who use them.

  • Damon Krane writes "At September's meeting [of Tenant Protection Roundtable] I reported on work United Athens County Tenants has been doing in the aftermath of an apartment ceiling collapse to expose a slumlord and inadequate housing code enforcement. The landlord in question, Krause Rental Properties, owns some properties in Columbus as well as Athens, where company owner Joe Krause also sits on the Athens Zoning Board of Appeals. We finally published our full report online and notified local media. You can find the report and all the evidentiary materials it's based on here -- https://www.athenstenants.com/november-2022-code-enforcement

RHINO's Six Steps Project is an effort to focus grassroots attention on looking beyond incremental change.

2025? YES, that's how deep the 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.