May 20, 2017

Cincinnati – CUFA has been a longtime supporter of a full-time housing court that rids our neighborhoods of absentee landlords and helps keep our low-income homeowners in their homes.  The following editorial was published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on May 20, 2017. Read the full text below.

Mingo’s arrest demonstrates the need for a full-time housing court

The recent arrest of Pastor Peterson Mingo demonstrates the need for a permanent, full-time housing court in Hamilton County that responds to the community it serves.  For years, Communities United For Action (CUFA) has advocated for a housing court that will clean up blighted property in our neighborhoods and help our neighbors.  While the arrest of Pastor Mingo demonstrates the flaws in our current system, we have not seen a proposal for a real solution.

Many of Hamilton County’s low and moderate-income neighborhoods are still struggling to recover from the 2008 foreclosure crisis.  We need a housing court to keep our housing stock from further deteriorating and to retain our homeowners.  In order to get a housing court that will work for all of Hamilton County, our low and moderate-income residents must play a role in developing the court. To find a successful model for a community-centered housing court, we need look no further than the city of Cleveland.

For the last 35 years, the Cleveland Housing Court has improved that city’s neighborhoods through the Selective Intervention Program.  This program assigns a Housing Court Specialist to low-income homeowners and helps them develop a plan to bring their homes up to code.  The program also connects these homeowners to resources for repairs.  At the same time, the Court holds notorious slumlords accountable for improving their property.

Hamilton County needs this kind of comprehensive approach to addressing our housing crisis.  It is imperative that community residents inform the decisions for structuring the court so that it meets the needs of this area.

CUFA is calling on City Council, the County Commissioners, the Clerk of Courts and our state legislators to: 1. Develop a process for public input to structure the housing court 2. Find money to fund a full-time housing court, and  3. Fully fund housing repair programs to help our indigent neighbors.  Our community leaders must act now to save our neighborhoods and help our homeowners.

Sincerely,

Roger Davis

CUFA board of directors