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RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio
July 23, 1968  Glenville shootout: In Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization and the Cleveland Police Department occurs. During the shootout, a riot begins and lasts for five days.
RHINO motto for the second third of 2016: “Expect resistance—whatever you do, you are going to piss somebody off.”
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Read the RHINO priorities for 2016
Housing news you missed in the midst of the past week’s tragedies. 

     While there’s no consensus about how to address the problem of affordable rental housing, four stories in the past couple weeks offer hope that policy makers are beginning to address the rental housing crisis. As RHINO was told on Capitol Hill this past week, “Some people are beginning to think about the affordability crisis.” 

Congress Unanimously Approves Bill to Improve Housing Programs 
     Thursday night, on their way out the door, the Senate passed the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act by unanimous consent. The bill is a collection of “consensus” reforms to public and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) housing that will: 
  • Increase “project-based” housing vouchers in higher-opportunity areas. 
  • Streamline use of project-based vouchers for supportive housing to homeless individuals and families, veterans, the elderly, and people with disabilities). 
  • Simplify HCV inspections and protect households from eviction if the agency suspends payments to an owner due to housing-quality violations. 
  • Strengthen voucher assistance for former foster children, who face a high risk of homelessness. 
  • Simplify income documentation for HCV households. 
  • Encourage work by delaying rent increases for tenants who start employment or get raises. 
  • Provide flexibility to use public housing funds for pressing renovation needs. 
    While advocates won’t say so out loud, these are all “small ball” tweaks of existing programs. Still, something is better than nothing. More here

Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) rule could improve voucher mobility 
     Meanwhile HUD announced a “tweak” to the HCV program which is designed to permit housing authorities to pay higher subsidies in higher income neighborhoods. One of the problem with vouchers is that rents are set based on the Area Median Income, an average of rents charged across a metropolitan area that includes both low and high income neighborhoods. The result has been that HCV households end up being concentrated in lower income census tracts. The new rule (now in a 60 day comment period) would permit housing authorities to pay more to landlords in higher income census tracts within the metropolitan area. More here
     A recent study by The Housing Center in Cleveland recommended that HUD take this action to permit more voucher mobility in the Greater Cleveland area. 

Enterprise is not waiting for Federal Action 
     A proposal by Enterprise Community Partners is starting to get some attention in “the housing press.” Enterprise calls their initiative a Master Lease. 
The idea is for mission driven housing providers and social agencies to lease a block of units in existing buildings, then sublease the units to low income families along with a “nest egg” feature to strengthen the financial stability of the households. “This multiyear, fixed-price contract between the owner and nonprofit would allow the nonprofit to take control over some or all of the units in a building and have the ability to set rents.“ 

Some cities are not waiting for Federal Action 
      Pittsburgh, which is not usually thought of as one of the “hot” rental markets, is seeking a permanent revenue source for it’s newly proposed Affordable Housing Trust Fund. From the Tribune Review "Pittsburgh officials want to set up a dedicated funding stream that would-in a first for the city-tap public dollars to provide subsidized housing for poor residents contending with rising rental rates. City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle of the Hill District has crafted legislation based on input from Mayor Bill Peduto's Affordable Housing Task Force that would create a “Housing Opportunity Fund” to help build, renovate and subsidize housing for families of four earning less than $40,000 per year. The legislation requires a $10 million annual injection of money into the fund."
posted July 17, 2016

What do you want to do?

Mary Clark responds to CityScape story on Slumlords in Cincinnati.
"As an agent with a background in rental housing, especially multifamilies, I have always wondered what we can do to bring standards to investment and how to mandate some kind of education for any entity or person planning on purchasing rental housing in Ohio. This is a complicated situation but the lack of education for prospective investors seems to be an important aspect which is overlooked." Read more here.

Need more news?

What's News (recent stories from all around)

Affordable in Ohio is a five part series in November 2015 looks at affordability issues in Ohio. here

Affordable in Ohio here

Change in the Air here

Eviction in Ohio here

UN-fair Housing proposals in Ohio House here


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