RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio

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Today in Ohio History

July 25, 1916 -- The 1916 Waterworks Tunnel Disaster. Clevelanders woke up to learn that there had been a terrible accident the night before in a tunnel under construction in Lake Erie. In the evening hours of July 24, Harry Vokes, a 27-year-old Case Institute graduate, who was serving as acting foreman, led a work crew of eight men down into the tunnel from the new crib known as Crib No. 5. Shortly thereafter, when natural gas vented up from the lake bed and somehow ignited, an explosion occurred, which buried Vokes and his entire work crew under hundreds of feet of mud and tunnel debris.

20-24 Vision

Jul 18, 2024. WCPO. Neighbors enraged as West End home once slated for affordable housing listed as Airbnb rental. "Former West End Community Council member Sherri King sounded the alarm when she learned a home near her once rehabbed by Habitat for Humanity was sold to a Seven Hills employee and listed on Airbnb. 'The term affordability can be subjective, but $252 a night is not affordable to most people I know,' she said."

RHINO's Six Steps Project is an effort to jump start grassroots advocacy on housing policy that goes beyond incremental change. 

read, think, respond...then act collectively.

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 that could have happened fizzled because Congress was unprepared to seize the opportunity provided by 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 they 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"

Back in 2022, RHINO gave up on paying attention to Federal housing policy until after the 2024 elections, when, we hoped, grassroots activism in the wake of the past three housing related recessions would nudge Federal policymakers towards more progressive solutions to the US housing dilemma. 

If the New Democrat agenda is any indication, grassroots advocates (RHINOistas and others that not beholden to the FIRED industry) need to start nudging now. Begin conversationss with House and Senate candidates, their policy teams, and their influencers about what's working in your communities and how they can create Federal policies that support grassroots innovation. 

2024 is the time to be aspirational. Take a leaf from Biden's plan to reduce the lead standard to "near zero". EPA has not written regulations on this, just pointed to where we need to go. Housing advocates have the opportunity to put the flesh to real reform.

Read more about the Six Steps project.