RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio

Today in Ohio history

September 30, 1907 – The McKinley National Memorial, the final resting place of assassinated U.S. President William McKinley and his family, is dedicated in Canton, Ohio.

This week's rental housing news


  • Aug. 31, 2022. cleveland.com. Fearing displacement, Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park residents form union, demand to stay. "Facing a possible exodus from their long-time homes, residents of a lakefront mobile home park in North Collinwood have formed a tenant union and are demanding to stay in place. And if they are forced to leave, residents are demanding ample time for planning -- and compensation for the homes they may lose."

  • August 29, 2022. Columbus Dispatch. Multiple arrests made after homeless advocates protest outside homes of Columbus officials. "Organizers Elizabeth Blackburn lifts a food container lid as A. Daye looks into a pantry at the homeless camp at 905 E. Mound St. this month. Blackburn and Daye believe the plywood structure caused the city to issue an eviction notice for the residents. Organizers."

  • August 21, 2022. CityLab. The Fight Against Evictions Moves to the Courts,

  • August 29, 2022. WVXU, Cincinnati's Affordable Housing Trust Fund is ready for use four years after being established. "Four years after Cincinnati Council established an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the money is finally ready to be used. City officials signed a contract with the Cincinnati Development Fund on Friday, outlining how much subsidy can go to each project based on how affordable the units are. Less than $3 million is available right now, because the new agreement covers only some of what’s being called a “fund of funds” to subsidize affordable housing production or preservation."

  • August 29, 2022. Ideastream Public Media. Housing is focus of Cleveland Mayor Bibb's first American Rescue Plan Act proposals. "Housing development programs make up the lion’s share of Mayor Justin Bibb’s first round of American Rescue Plan Act spending plans. The mayor’s staff on Monday laid out $102.5 million in ARPA spending items to Cleveland City Council. That's about a third of the city’s remaining ARPA allocation from the federal government. City Council must approve the mayor's proposed spending."

  • August 30, 2022. WOSU. Columbus city attorney files public nuisance lawsuit against south Franklinton apartment complex. "Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein's office has filed a public nuisance lawsuit over what he says are "dangerous, unsanitary living conditions" at Southpark Apartments in South Franklinton. A troubled apartment complex in Columbus' south Franklinton neighborhood is being sued by the city attorney's office over what it said are dangerous and unsanitary living conditions. The 356-unit Southpark Apartments is among the largest affordable housing developments in Columbus. According to court documents, Columbus Police received more than 800 calls for service to the property between Aug. 1, 2021 and July 21, 2022, including '179 disturbances, 49 stolen vehicles, 51 domestic violence incidents, 24 shots fired, 9 stabbings, 7 overdoses and other criminal activity.' An inspection last year found some 200 code violations ranging from roaches and rodents to missing smoke detectors, broken walls and windows and exposed wiring." more here

  • Columbus Dispatch. August 31, 2022. Housing authority to build Franklinton apartments for low-income seniors from Downtown Y. "The $13.7-million, four-story McKinley Manor will be built at 1048 W. Broad St., near a Columbus fire station. The 44-unit building will house YMCA residents 55 and older once construction is completed by fall 2023."

A Green New Deal for Public Housing -- rhinoUp for July 17, 2022

Public housing was the Federal government's first effort to create a national housing policy. The FDR New Deal adapted public housing from Great Britain's Social Housing in the midst of the Depression when, as FDR proclaimed: "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished."

In 2019, the Green New Deal for Public Housing (GND4PH) was proposed by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders to address three goals: save FDR's social housing experiment, address the 21st century's climate crisis, and provide safe shelter and employment opportunities to the lowest income tenants in the US. Here's the concept. "Safe housing. Clean housing. Green housing. Homes without toxic mold that causes asthma, homes without lead paint, homes without broken appliances or uncontrollable heating. We envision public housing that’s good for tenants, sustainable for the planet, and creates quality jobs." The ten year estimated cost for the program would be a whopping $180B to modernize and decarbonize 1,000,000 of existing public housing. Funding for the GND4PH would have come from the Biden "Build Back Better" reconciliation bill.

Good idea, bad timing! Within six months of the introduction of GND4PH, the CoronaCrisis triggered a series of housing retrograde interventions (emergency rental assistance and eviction moratoriums) which were designed to stop an impending eviction crisis. Then the Sinemanchin caucus in the Senate broke the back of a massive Reconciliation bill that could finance the plan. Kriston Capps in CityLab provides a good analysis of the barriers facing GND4PH.

So where from here?

1. Because Public housing is socialism, ie. government owned housing, when FDR created public housing, he set up a system of locally governed "housing authorities" to soften the image of a "big government" takeover of the housing market. Now these entrenched PHAs (and their vendors and their unions) will need to be in the planning, not just think-tankers and the Sunrise Movement.

2. Public housing is socialism, so framing GND4PH as an "infrastructure investment" rather than a housing benefit could reduce the ideological lift for moderates of both parties. There will need to be elements of the plan that benefit the realtors, investors, and developers, which is currently the largest lobbying groups in the country.

3. GND4PH is too big. Outside of a national catastrophe, like the Great Depression, Congress works by what Charles Lindbloom called "muddling through." Every real innovation requires a generation to concoct, refine, and finally accept. However, HUD's Mark to Market (M2M) and Rental Assistance Demonstration programs stand out as exceptions. Each had the reputation for being "jetliners built in flight," ie. each deal was unique, but the lessons learned were looped back into the program to make each deal more successful.

4. GND4PH is too costly. Between now and 2025, it's unlikely that Congress will find the $180B-$1T estimated cost of a 10 year program. Shorter workarounds will be required, eg. capital investments that look like annual appropriations.

Enacting Universal Housing Vouchers (UHVs) can pave the way to GND4PH by encouraging PHAs to operate like private sector landlords. Before you scream, read on. The social mission of social housing will be preserved by capital improvements that improve safety, reduce operating expenses, and create jobs...rather than simply providing social-worky resident services.

Then, HUD could redesign the existing capital grant program to incorporate GND4PH goals that will create the rental units and communities of the future. Slowly, stodgy "brick cities" could become the market standard for rental housing efficiency, resilience, and amenities. With the capital provided by HUD, PHAs could become a test bed for alternative energy generation, non-carbon HVAC systems, energy conservation, modular development, and microgrid technologies.

Two synergies will ensue as public housing meets the GND4PH goals of "Safe housing. Clean housing. Green housing."

  • PHAs can also become technological hubs for community solar projects, e-charging stations, and maker labs for the benefit of surrounding low income communities, providing spaces for innovators

Private developers will benefit too. Using Federal funding as venture capital investors new technologies, for profit reduced the "risk" of private sector who don't want to be early adopters.

Read more about the Six Policies project.