front tableCity Agrees to Work on Neighborhood Priorities to Address Vacant Properties

Ed Cunningham, Cincinnati’s Manager of Property Maintenance Code Enforcement Division, pledged to work with CUFA to help neighborhoods get rid of their most problematic vacant buildings and expressed interest in developing new tools for getting rid of blight in Cincinnati’s neighborhoods.

Cunningham committed to develop a system to help building inspectors focus on the worst vacant buildings, as prioritized by neighborhood residents.  Neighborhoods will report their priorities to CUFA which will monitor the progress made by the Code Enforcement Division. Send CUFA your top 5 vacant property concerns and we will work with the City to get them addressed. Read more about the meeting here.

youth-1Vacant Foreclosed Property Ordinance Expanded:

In 2012, CUFA organized to pass the Vacant Foreclosed Residential Property Ordinance to address this problem. The ordinance began as a pilot program in 5 neighborhoods- East Price Hill, West Price Hill, College Hill, Westwood and Madisonville and was very successful. The program requires banks to register their vacant and foreclosed properties with the city and to provide ongoing maintenance to the home until it is reoccupied.

The pilot program resulted in 88% of the registered properties being improved or stabilized in their condition. It also paid for itself and created a new stream of revenue for the city- collecting close to a quarter of a million dollars in fees and fines. In fact, each house is estimated to save taxpayers $35,000 in costs of police and fire runs.2

CUFA had another victory in March of 2014 with the full expansion of the ordinance to all 52 neighborhoods!

Today CUFA is educating and activating neighborhood leaders to use and evaluate this law. 120 leaders have been trained so far in 26 neighborhoods to make reports and track each vacant home in their community.

CUFA Negotiates Community Reinvestment Agreements: In the 1990s CUFA negotiated agreements with six major banks which yielded over $800 million in investments for Cincinnati neighborhoods.  CUFA continues to use these relationships to address today’s economic challenges.
cordrayCordray Sends Letters to Support TARP: CUFA won an agreement from Attorney General Richard Cordray to send letters to the Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and to the entire Ohio Congressional Delegation asking them to use the remaining TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds to help homeowners avoid foreclosure through programs like short term loans and housing counseling. See the letters here.
Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds: In July 2008, Congress passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, in which $3.92 billion was funded for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Cincinnati received $8.3 million of the one-time NSP funding in an effort to aid the neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. CUFA hosted the public input session on the funding to ensure that the people who are most affected by the foreclosure crisis helped to create the project proposal. The Cincinnati Director of Community Development as well as some Cincinnati City Councilmembers came to listen to the concerns and requests of the Housing Forum group. CUFA’s input helped to increase money for both demolition and rehab, and added funding for more building inspectors.
cfl_greenUtility Reform: CUFA has led the fight for utility reform and to stop higher utility rates by Duke Energy. CUFA won a program from Duke that gives you up to 12 FREE energy efficient light bulbs and other energy saving tips. Contact Duke to learn how to get your free bulbs!
Stopping Predatory Lending: CUFA understands that a major cause of foreclosure in low and moderate income communities is predatory lending.  PayDay lenders fought against Ohio state restrictions that capped interest rates at 28% (as compared to the PayDay standard of 391% interest rates), but voters voted to maintain the restrictions in a landslide victory. CUFA worked to make this happen through mobilizing and educating its members to support Issue Five against PayDay lending abuses.
Drug Free School Zones:  CUFA’s Crime & Drug Committee has gotten City Council to post Drug Free School Zone signs throughout the city, doubling the penalty for dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of a school. CUFA developed the Hot Spot Card program to anonymously report crime & drug activities.
Federal Reserve Officials Listen to CUFA. After an agreement with CUFA, Working In Neighborhoods, and National People’s Action, officials from the Federal Reserve agreed to host 10 meetings around the country to hear from the victims of the housing crisis. Read more.