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RHINO is the Rental Housing Information Network 
in Ohio
May 27, 1934 – Happy Birthday to Cleveland/Painesville's Harlan Ellison, American author and screenwriter
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Dr. Ben Carson's proposal is an organizer's dream
     Many tenants and advocates have seen or heard about Dr. Ben Carson's proposal to raise HUD housing rents and slap on work requirements for HUD tenants. Now's the time to use this mis-step to unite tenants and advocates around true housing reform. Never let a crisis go to waste!
   Nothing hits the heart of a tenant like a rent increase. The trick is to use the threat of a rent increase and involuntary servitude to bring tenants into civic action. This blatant attack on housing assistance is an opportunity to flip the script from making tenants pay more to expanding housing assistance. Local organizers and leaders can lead the way.
     Step one. Make sure everyone knows what's going on. This proposal has been kicking around Congress long before Dr. Ben Carson gave up brain surgery. Raising HUD rents is hot now because Republicans need cover with their voters. Republican tax cuts have zoomed the Federal deficit as they face reelection campaigns. Tenants can use word of mouth and social media to make the connection. Start today by putting a link to this video on your Facebook page or sending it to your email contacts. 
     Step two. Select a target. In Ohio, targets are everywhere. Any elected official who voted for the Trump tax cuts and anyone who's running for office with President Trump's support needs to be held accountable. They will be out in your communities asking for support. Boxer Joe Louis (almost) said "they can run, but they can't hide."
     Step three. Use "hit and run" tactics that dramatize the contradiction between tax cuts for the rich and rent increases for the poor. Keep the message fresh to keep people interested. Use the mass media to educate "the public." Activities that engage ordinary tenants reinforce the message and keep your grassroots growing. "Don't be boring!" Real people's voices are better than charts and graphs.
     Step four: Offer alternatives that make sense. You can't beat something with nothing. Right now Federal Housing assistance only benefits 1/3 of eligible households so why not make Housing vouchers like foodstamps--you get it when you need it. How about advocating for a renter tax credit that pays a monthly dividend to every low income household? Advocacy organizations can help shape these proposals so they are easy to understand and explain.
     The good news is that the Carson proposal (Making Affordable Housing Work Act of 2018) won't happen until it is approved by Congress and that won't happen this year. The 2019 budget is pretty much set thanks to last year's budget agreement and Congresspeople won't be hanging around DC in an election year--they will be where you live! There's time to shape the next Congress at the polls. VREM = "Voter registration, education and mobilization."
     Here's the other good thing. Tenants don't need to be trained or coached to understand the issue. They know how rent increases will affect their household budgets. All they have to do is tell their stories and offer an alternative.
     Finding allies will be important, but tenants need to lead the effort. Think about the other grassroots movements that are going on right now. High school students around the country are in the streets, at political rallies and in the state legislatures protesting gun violence. Public school teachers, parents and students are fighting for educational funding in West Virginia, Arizona and Colorado. Women across the country are telling their stories about harassment and exploitation in the workplace through #metoo.
     When your community is ready to mount a campaign for more housing assistance, RHINO can help with brainstorming, finding resources and contacts, and shaping tactics. Write to communitymanager@rhinohio.com
posted April 29, 2018

Story series from RHINO

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?

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

What's News (recent stories from all around)


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