Walnut Hills residents fighting for their homes

Posted: 6:47 PM, Sep 25, 2017
Updated: 2017-09-25 18:47:26-04

CINCINNATI -- Kimetta Carter has lived in the Alms Hill Apartments for nine years, but now the future of her home is in question.

The building has seen issues including two failed U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections this year and a fire back in January. HUD announced it would end low-income rental subsidies to the complex. 

IN-DEPTH:  Alms families forced to move, may become homeless, after HUD ends contract with apartment

"We, as human beings, are worthy of good housing," she said. "HUD wants to write this place off and say it's unlivable, but I saw differently."

Without the Section 8 funding, hundreds of families who live in the building could be forced to move elsewhere.

"They want to offer us vouchers to move into other locations, however there are no locations for us to move into, so the vouchers are worthless," Carter said.

The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati is representing residents like Carter in a federal lawsuit against HUD. They're asking for an injunction to stop the cutbacks and allow those who live in the building to stay.

"I just want to be here. This is my home," Carter said. "I've made it a home and I want to keep it my home."

The building recently gained new management and improvements like a new mail room, new elevators and improved electrical wiring throughout the building. Some members of the city council fear that improvement isn't being fully recognized by HUD.

"Instead of helping us to solidify this housing and help people have decent affordable housing, they're saying, 'Screw you, Cincinnati. We're going to shut it down,'" Councilmember Kevin Flynn said.

Regardless of the outcome of the pending lawsuit, members of the council said the goal is to make sure the same mistake doesn't happen again.

"It needs to be that we don't have an owner take over and strip it, because obviously that's what happened here, is people have been receiving compensation and not investing those dollars," Councilmember Chris Smitherman said.

As for Carter, she said this is much more than an Alms Hill issue. It's a human issue.

"I'm fighting for the cause of not just the people at the Alms, but anyone, anwhere who is on low-income housing," she said. "This is a necessary institution that we need to keep open."