Public housing plans go forward in Hamilton County

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - By a 2 to 1 vote, Hamilton County Commissioners voted Monday to approve a cooperating agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It means grant money will continue coming to the county, and the building of more public housing by the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority throughout the county will move ahead.

Green Township had fought a HUD move that would have meant 32 new housing units in the township. Leaders there said they felt they were being unfairly singled out to receive new public housing. Over the weekend, Green Township and HUD reached an agreement saying that HUD won't make new housing in Green Township a priority.  However, public housing units could eventually still be planned there.

That agreement freed up County Commissioners to vote Monday.  Greg Hartmann and Todd Portune voted in favor of the cooperation agreement.  Chris Monzel did not, citing ongoing concerns he says he's seen with CMHA, its properties, and the impact they have on citizens around them.

"Anybody would probably accept any type of housing that's positive in adding value to the community," said Monzel. "But if it's a housing that's having issues, quality of life issues constantly that are occurring because of mismanagement that's being handled by that organization. Nobody's going to want that no matter who's doing it."

CMHA Interim Executive Director insists the authority runs safe and clean housing and meets all of HUD's standards.

"We're pleased that Hamilton County Commissioners have approved the cooperation agreement so that we can be about our mission of providing affordable housing in Hamilton County," said Ted Bergh.

Bergh says there are thousands in the county seeking public assistance, and there is not sufficient housing to meet their needs.  He said Monday's vote is a step toward addressing that.

Specifically where new units will be built next isn't yet clear.

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