Cincinnati among top 10 cities for evictions, and cycle of poverty and homelessness can follow

CINCINNATI -- Nila Gordon works hard just to stay one step ahead of eviction.

In Cincinnati, that's a hard thing to do: The city ranks in the top 10 nationally for evictions. In just the past two weeks, landlords have filed 500 eviction cases in Hamilton County.

Seventy-nine of those came from the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Evictions can send people into a spiral of poverty and even homelessness.

Gordon lives in a CMHA high-rise building in North Avondale. She's never been evicted, but she fears it. Last year, she said, CMHA charged her an extra $2,000 in retroactive rent because she didn't provide information that would have increased her rent.

"So that set me back like $2,000, and I've been paying that every month since last December," she said. "Even if I wasn't working, I made sure I paid them."

Cincinnati is a city with a significant shortage of affordable housing -- while having one of the country's highest costs of rent compared to income. A Cincinnati City Council committee looked at the impact of evictions on poverty Tuesday.

"The inability or unwillingness to address evictions has got to change," Councilwoman Tamaya Dennard said.

As she paused to share her story with WCPO, Gordon missed her bus -- her only form of transportation. She works in housecleaning at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, so we gave her a ride there. 

On the way, she told us she worked extra hours to pay her bills on time. The thing she enjoys most about work was getting to know the brave children fighting cancer.

"A lot of them are going into remission this week, and they're doing little parades and stuff for them," Gordon said. "It's so cute."

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