CINCINNATI - More low-income housing may soon be headed for high-profile communities such as Green Township, Symmes Township and Hyde Park.
That's because the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is close to settling a discrimination finding filed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Civil rights attorney Robert Newman filed the complaint when people on the Section 8 waiting list found out they were being excluded by CMHA from certain sections of Hamilton County.
Newman alleged that former CMHA Board Chairman Arnold Barnett sought to restrict new Section 8 housing units in Green Township, where Barnett lives, and locate Section 8 housing in Hyde Park, where he lives.
"HUD did an extensive investigation and found indeed that the housing authority was being run in a racially discriminatory manner in a number of different respects," Newman said. "One of them was the complete exclusion of Section 8 from Green Township."
CHMA currently owns 5,000 Section 8 units in Hamilton County where low-income residents can live. In addition, there are 11,000 units in the county where housing choice vouchers are used.
Green Township has 28 CMHA-owned properties within its borders as well as 92-voucher housing choice units.
Newman said a settlement is close on a Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) that he said would serve as a road map for CMHA in locating future Section 8 housing.
"That will come in Green Township, Symmes Township, Hyde Park and other areas," he said.
Neither CMHA nor Green Township officials will comment until the document is signed. That could happen in a matter of weeks.
The CMHA Board met in regular session Monday night at its offices on Western Avenue in Queensgate. A special meeting to deal with the VCA will likely be called when the document is finished.
View a neighborhood list by going to http://media2.wcpo.com/pdfs/housing.pdf (pdf)
Here is a breakdown of Hamilton County locations served by Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) in 2010.
1) HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHERS
Housing Choice Voucher (HCF) is the program commonly referred to as Section 8. It is tenant driven, which means the voucher holder chooses the apartment on the private rental market and decides what neighborhood would best meet their needs. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) does NOT place vouchers in various neighborhoods. It is the tenant's choice. The resident is responsible for paying the private landlord 30% of their income in rent. CMHA then pays the landlord the difference between the fair market rent being requested and the amount the tenant pays. The lease is between the private property owner and the tenant.
2) PUBLIC HOUSING
Public Housing are units owned and managed by CMHA. No vouchers are associated with these properties, it is a completely separate program. In the public housing program rent is paid by the tenant to CMHA and lease is between the tenant and CMHA.
The similarity that exists between the two programs is that rent in income based. Rent and utilities does not exceed 30 percent of a person's income.
SOURCE: Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority
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