Cincinnati to launch Eviction Prevention Fund to try to keep more families in homes

Cincinnati to launch Eviction Prevention Fund to try to keep more families in homes
Council members want to keep more families in their homes and out of homeless camps or off the streets, like this homeless camp that emerged along Third Street last summer. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati leaders are expected to vote Wednesday to establish the city’s first-ever Eviction Prevention Fund to try to keep more families in their homes.

They will add it to more than $200,000 in emergency assistance “to prevent unnecessary and costly evictions,” according to a news release from Councilman Greg Landsman’s office.

"This is part of a comprehensive approach that we are helping to champion and support others to provide stable housing, especially for children and families," the release explains.

“Evictions have become a crisis in Cincinnati with 20-25 times as many families being evicted as there are overdoses. It’s bad for children, and we can keep families in their homes, beginning with additional support for emergency rental assistance. The fund will release these resources through a competitive process to a third-party with credibility and experience, as well as strong results.”

The contract will be one of the first to be done as part of an ordinance council members led last year to require performance-based contracts in partnerships between the city and third party provider where city funds will support the operational budgets of that third party.

The funding is in addition to the $176,000 council secured in eviction prevention work in the West End as part of the Tri-State deal last year, according to Landsman.

The West End eviction prevention work will also be done in alignment with the ordinance that will pass Wednesday, as well as the Performance-Based contract ordinance based unanimously last year.

“We appreciate the bi-partisan support for this effort as we all know that stable, affordable housing is critical for neighborhood vibrancy, and the well-being of children and families,” the release states.

The anti-eviction program comes after large homeless tent camps emerged last summer on pubic and private property Downtown and a few surrounding neighborhoods.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters repeatedly went to court to shut the camp down, chasing it from Third Street to Central Parkway to Eden Park Drive to their current location on privately-owned land at 13th and Republic streets.

Cincinnati and Hamilton County leaders ultimately agreed to a permanent county-wide ban of homeless camps on public and private property,

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio wants an appeals court to throw out a judge’s order banning homeless camps in Hamilton County.

The ACLU has sued to try to overturn an injunction against the camps Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Robert Ruehlman issued in August.

Judge bans homeless camps in Hamilton County

Ruehlman issued the ban on the condition that there is space available in local shelters.

That’s a condition also included in a federal judge’s order on the issue.

U.S. District Court Judge Tim Black ruled against an earlier challenge to Ruehlman’s ban and said police could make arrests for public homelessness.

But the judge added the stipulation that the ban could only be enacted if there was room in local shelters.

Ruehlman blocked homeless camps after Deters sued the city of Cincinnati to close the Third Street encampment.

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