Middletown city manager says overabundance of low-income housing contributes to poverty

Posted at 7:34 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 19:58:39-05

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio – There could be changes on the horizon for low-income housing in Middletown.

This comes after City Manager Doug Adkins blogged about what he sees as an overabundance of rental properties in certain neighborhoods.

Adkins said some neighborhoods approach 80 to 90 percent rentals. He says that's bad for the city, especially since those houses are more rundown than houses in other cities nearby.

It is without question that parts of Middletown are in the throes of extreme poverty, with streets like Baltimore Avenue and Crawford Street just two of many.

And with that the city has observed steady crime rates and police calls for service.

Adkins declined to talk to us today for this story, but his blog post states clearly what he thinks is the problem.

"The real problem is the abundance of worn-out housing stock in Middletown at the end of its useful life. We have too much older, worn-out, smaller, lower value housing units than surrounding communities," he wrote.

READ Adkins' complete blog post.

Middletown used to have a disproportionate amount of Section 8 housing, which was reduced and not without some controversy. But Adkins says he never was one to bash Section 8 or its participants.

He adds that those who were kicked off the program for breaking the law are still contributing to the crime problem in Middletown.

"We have a large amount of 70+ year old, smaller housing that is reaching the end of its useful life," he wrote. "What has taken place is that instead of having a Section 8 family in a $15,000 house, we have an extremely poor non-subsidized family living in the $15,000 house."

Adkins says  a housing study under way will recommend large changes  that will reduce poverty rates over time and make housing more competitive.

He says the changes will require difficult decisions.

I asked if part of that meant acquiring houses and tearing them down, but Adkins did not respond to questions today.