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RHINO
is the Rental Housing Information Network in Ohio

June 22, 1969 – The Cuyahoga River catches fire in Cleveland, Ohio, drawing national attention to water pollution, and spurring the passing of the Clean Water Act and the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.


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updated 6/14/17 Dispatch proves RHINO is wrong. When I argued in rhino!Up that the Dispatch was doing good reporting on social needs, but didn't offer solutions, I was wrong. At least for now. How's this for an editorial?
"It only stands to reason that if someone had a magic test that, say for a few hundred dollars, could detect the presence of lead, landlords would willingly protect their tenants. Or government would require such testing. Landlords shouldn’t be able to sell a toxic product any more than a toy company. There’s good news: An affordable test exists. And there’s bad news: Some landlords don’t care. Columbus city attorneys and public-health officials are preparing as many as 60 cases against owners who have failed, sometimes despite years of repeated notices, to remove hazardous lead paint from their properties. Most of the properties are rentals. All must be vacated. But moving out isn’t so simple, because like the people of Flint, where 42 percent of the residents live below the poverty line, chances are the afflicted Columbus tenants are poor and unable to afford newer or better maintained properties. A Columbus Health Department listing of the lead-laced properties predictably shows the problem concentrated in older neighborhoods. Houses built before 1978, and especially those before 1950, are more likely to have lead paint, which tastes sweet and can be inhaled as dust, or licked off fingers after kids play in dirt.

Housing advocates can help the Dispatch find solutions
Columbus Dispatch should be commended for identifying income inequality as a fundamental problem in the capital city and should get a second commendation, for showing how social problems like evictionaffordable rent, and lead poisoning grow out income inequality. 

However, the Dispatch leaves readers (aka citizens) practically clueless about how to solve the social problems which it identifies. Instead it quotes heads like Celebrity scholar Richard Florida who is flogging a bookj and local and state politicians arguing for raising the minimum wage. Where are the concrete steps towards a solution? 

Advocates can help move the Dispatch from abstract discussions of problems to concrete solutions.

1. Write an op-ed about your idea for addressing a social problem. Cite examples from other similar cities. Example: Tenants can't find housing with vouchers, why not consider SOI like Pittsburgh did.

2. Write to the reporter to offer suggestions of ways to address a problem. Lead poisoning causes household instability? Example: Look at solutions being tested in Toledo.

3. Push editors and writers to cover events that highlight solutions. Pointing out examples of civic engagement helps to promote others to undertake change efforts. Here's an example from the Repository.

When the Dispatch editors ask the question "If we remain divided, can they achieve the American dream" the door is open for advocates to use the forum for promoting solutions. Be relentless. Promote alternative news outlets 
posted June 11, 2017


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



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