Cincinnati, OH -The city likely will add to the pool of money to help 560 low-income people relocate this month from a large Bond Hill apartment complex that has been deemed a health hazard.
At Vice Mayor Alicia Reece’s urging, City Council will vote Wednesday on whether to allocate $50,000 from a city emergency fund for housing issues.
“This is a quality of life issue,” Reece said. “It is important that the city play a financial role in this unexpected event. We need to do what we can to help those families, which include the elderly and disabled.”
If approved, total assistance available for relocation would be about $300,000, with the remainder coming from the Federal National Mortgage Association and Michigan-based Habitat America, which is temporarily managing the nearly 1,200-unit Huntington Meadows complex.
Last week, attorneys for the tenants reached a compromise with Habitat. Under the deal, tenants who move by Sept. 3 will receive $500, as well as have their security deposits returned. Also, tenants who agree to move won’t have to pay August rent.
Habitat had asked a judge earlier last month to evict the tenants by Aug. 31 after a study revealed possible health hazards due to mold, raw sewage and other contaminants.
The company said it would cost $10.5 million to correct problems at the financially troubled complex.
Mayor Charlie Luken and City Council Members John Cranley, David Crowley and David Pepper have indicated support for Reece’s proposal. Like the vice mayor, all are Democrats.
Council Member Pat DeWine, a Republican, opposes the expenditure. His fellow GOP member, Chris Monzel, hasn’t yet taken a stance pending more research on the matter.
Reece needs at least one other vote for passage, which probably will come from fellow Democrats Paul Booth and Minette Cooper. Neither was in City Council’s finance committee meeting Monday, when the proposal was discussed.
In recent years, Hamilton County issued $17.5 million in bonds to renovate the Bond Hill complex. In addition, the city of Cincinnati invested another $4 million. Despite the $21 million total investment, however, the complex is in shambles and some officials are pressing for an audit of its original owners.
Also, Reece is setting up a meeting between the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Apartment Association and tenants to help them find new housing, and asking some area churches to sponsor families that need to move.