A RHINO feature: Cleveland's Hail Mary housing code legislation
Sidebar #1: Council's Development Committee Chairperson Anthony Hairston hastened to add that there will be plenty of opportunity for tenants and tenant organizations to offer suggestions to make the legislation stronger. But...
Sidebar #2: Urbanites all over Ohio are fed up with promises. Ordinary citizens are fed up with junk, slow response from city departments and their private sector partners (eg. CDCs, LandBank and Legal Aid), and court system.
The right to be a housing vigilante would pass in a heartbeat. Here's another example of citizen code enforcement.
The current PB Cle citizen initiative is a symptom of the level of frustration that citizens have with gub'ment, ie: elected officials, bureaucrats and their non-profit fellow travelers.
Maybe that's why citizens weren't at the table for the drafting process. Maybe that's why Council Public Comment (another PB CLE project) is being curtailed.
What about a new public private partnership to get raise money to fund Legal Aid to bring citizen lawsuits or initiatives to enforce city ordinances when the City Departments can't get their stuff together?
Sep 28, 2023. Cleveland Scene. 'It's a Disaster': Real Estate Groups Balk at City's Proposed Housing Code Overhaul. ""My first thought? It's a disaster," Ralph McGreevy, the head of the Northern Ohio Apartment Association, which represents some 200,000 units, told Scene. McGreevy, along with the five other real estate experts interviewed for this article, believes that the strict provisions meant to punish and impede bad actors may have a stymieing affect on mom-and-pop landlords, namely those struggling to keep decent margins.Residents First, housing experts say, may actually do more harm to "good actors"—mom and pop landlords—than intended. The theory is that with added hoops to leap through, with more necessary inspections (which cost $325 to $375 on average in Ohio), mandatory registration, unforeseen $200 fines, court fees, et cetera, well-meaning landlords will be further deterred. Or, they say, tenants will be harmed, especially with the legislation's required Point-of-Sale inspection, which requires money for repairs go into a city-owned escrow account at a 150 percent markup."
Sidebar #3: Despite all their sympathetic rhetoric about protecting "mom and pop" landlords and not being included in the drafting process, the real redline for the Northern Ohio Apartment Association and the Real Estate industry is inspections. Taking the "investigate" out of investment is their goal.
Sidebar #4: The messaging on Residents First has focused on "out of town predatory" investors. but the reality is that many local entities are facilitators of both local and out of town investors. Many locally based "flippers" are "bad actors." Will the city assist them to come clean?
Sally Martin O'Toole has said that there will be two tiered enforcement of Residents First ordinance provisions: 1. local owners will get financial assistance from the city to come into compliance with inspections. 2. Out of town investors will get the back of the hand. Sally Martin O'Toole "told Scene. 'So yeah, it will make the bad actors want to leave—and that's fine. We're fine with them going away.' "
How's that working for ya in Cleveland's sister-in-poverty-city: Detroit?
Or Toledo? Sep. 28, 2023.WTVG. Neighborhood Nuisance: Owner of cockroach-infested home speaks out "The owner of a cockroach-infested home on Hayden Street is sharing her side of the story, after neighbors reached out to 13 Action News saying the infestation was spreading to their homes. Following our story, local government is taking action too. 'Now, I’ve got the health department and the City of Toledo all over the house. I no longer have a job, so I can’t even pay to get a dumpster out there. Now, I’m going to lose the house for sure,' the homeowner, who wants to remain anonymous said. 'I just want my side of the story heard.' She says she was planning on either selling or remodeling the house, but she doesn’t have the time or the money right now. Regardless, the City of Toledo and Lucas County Health Department are ordering her to take care of the mess and infestation. 'I’m doing what I can, but the way it’s looking, the city is going to take it,' she said.
Sidebar #5: Who's got the dough-re-mi? Much of the current enforcement efforts focused on the Shaker Square landlords, the Norfolk and Western Railroad and the 50 delinquent owners of Lead Poisoned houses, is being funded by ARPA money which will be running out around the same time that the Council and Mayor are running for reelection.
How the system works in the 2nd poorest city in the US
Cleveland MetroParks buys the Euclid Beach Mobile Home Park from the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (a non-profit). MetroParks (a quasi public entity) receives a grant from the Mandel Foundation to acquire the manufactured home park from Western Reserve Land Conservancy after park residents are kicked out.
Western Reserve Land Conservancy receives a grant from the Mandel Foundation to relocate the tenants from the property and clean the title before selling to MetroParks.
MetroParks seeks a lease to maintain the City of Cleveland's Gordon Park, also along the Lake Erie shoreline. The source of the funding for MetroParks lease of city property is withheld from City Council. References
Mandel Foundation pumping $24 million into east side lakefront parks
Mandel Foundation’s $24M grants for lakefront parks and trails in Cleveland greeted with jubilation, criticism
Mandel Foundation awards $10M to Western Reserve Land Conservancy
Cleveland Metroparks to lease part of Gordon Park from Cleveland
Meanwhile low income Clevelanders are just washed up on welfare island umbrella optional.
Euclid Beach Mobile Home park was supposed to be Carol McClain’s forever home. "She is among more than 120 families who must move to make way for Cleveland Metroparks’ expansion of Euclid Beach Park."
Food banks struggle to meet demand, as pandemic relief ends for thousands of Ohioans
Cleveland is most stressed city in U.S., report says.
July 16, 2023. NYT via dnyuz. Detroit Takes On Problems That Were Once Beyond Reach. The parallels with the current Cleveland re-visioning are striking, but will commercial code enforcement and green space solve the problems of disinvestment and out migration? From the article: "The simultaneous realities of Detroit add urgency to this moment, when the national economy is healthy and the city’s coffers are flush with federal pandemic relief funds. For the first time in a long time, there is money to go beyond the basics, offering a chance to think about aesthetics."
Jul 18, 2023 WCPO. City of Cincinnati proposes new programs to reduce economic inequalities "The City of Cincinnati is putting forward a new blueprint to address economic inequalities among residents. Proposals include piloting a guaranteed basic income for qualified residents, starting savings accounts for children and erasing medical debt. City leaders said many of the programs will be based on income, but will be open to all residents. 'It's our goal to drive at equity, to drive at opportunity,' said Assistant City Manager Virginia Tallent. The blueprint is filled with proposals for programs to make it easier for residents to find financial freedom. City leaders said one of their primary goals is to reduce the racial wealth gap." More here.