The battle continues in Hamilton County over adding more than 30 units of public housing within Green Township neighborhoods.
On Monday, county commissioners chose to not vote on a deal that would bring millions of federal dollars to the county to build affordable housing. Commissioners say they did not take any action because of an existing lawsuit between Green Township and the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority.
Many people living within Green Township are worried about an increase in public housing, while advocates say the effort to block it is unfair and segregates the community.
Elizabeth Brown is the Executive Director of Housing Opportunities. She says public housing is a necessity in the county and any choice to block it is segregation.
"I'm very disappointed that the Hamilton County Commissioners…have refused to agree that scattered site public housing throughout Hamilton County is the best thing for everybody," she says. "Hamilton County has to learn that people need to live together or else the problems that have are going to continue."
Commissioner Chris Monzel says the decision to not vote on Monday was more complicated.
"The last thing we wanted to do is take any action that might implicate anything in that lawsuit so we decided to take no action until that suit has been resolved," he said.
Monzel says the county wants to work with HUD on its own cooperation agreement and sidestep CMHA due to past problems.
"The CMHA itself has shown that it's not maintaining its properties adequately," he adds.
Maintaining a property is one of the complaints people living in Green Township have, along with a fear of increased crime and a decrease in property value.
In response, CHMA released this statement:
The future of the cooperation agreement between the Hamilton County Commissioners and CMHA is still very uncertain. The most critical issue here is that affordable housing is a very real need for thousands of Hamilton County residents, including many elderly, disabled and working poor. With a continually challenging economy and high unemployment, the need for affordable housing is likely to increase. CMHA stands ready to do its part.
Green Township trustee David Linnenberg says Green Township's lawsuit with CMHA and HUD is at a standstill in federal court.
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