CINCINNATI — City Council voted Wednesday to establish a $227,000 eviction prevention fund, which will provide emergency assistance for low-income Cincinnatians who would otherwise be left homeless.
An average of about 12,000 renters in Hamilton County are evicted each year, according to a University of Cincinnati study. To Councilman Greg Landsman, that number represents a crisis.
“It’s at the heart of a major issue in the city, which is poverty,” he said. “(And) it’s at the heart of a neighborhood’s viability and vitality to have that kind of stable housing.”
The UC study also found evictions disproportionately affected neighborhoods with high concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities, intensifying those communities’ struggle with poverty and homelessness.
The ordinance approved Wednesday calls upon the city to establish the fund in partnership with a qualified social services agency and make it available to anyone, especially families with children, whose income is 200 percent of the federal poverty level or below.
Tenants meeting that criteria can draw on the eviction relief fund once every 365 days as long as they attend a city-provided tenant training session.
Cincinnati struggled during the summer of 2018 with a large homeless population; the solutions officials found, which included outlawing homeless encampments, failed to satisfy many social advocates.
Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition executive director Josh Spring was among the loudest voices supporting the homeless community at that time. The eviction prevention fund is a good step, he said Wednesday. He just hopes City Council sees the city’s crisis can’t be solved by a single ordinance.
“We're not even scratching the surface yet, but you have to start with that before you get deeper,” he said.
The ordinance passed 6-1; Councilwoman Amy Murray was the only dissenting vote.
The city's next step will be to open applications for social services organizations interested in running the program. The ordinance did not provide a date by which the fund and accompanying services would be available to tenants.
Read the full emergency ordinance: