St. Peter in Chains Cathedral downtown
Hide Caption

Greater Cincinnati religious leaders adopt 'Housing Principles' to help region's poor

Goal is to encourage more affordable housing

a a a a
Share this story

CINCINNATI – A group of Greater Cincinnati’s religious leaders on Wednesday took a vote that they hope will make life better for the region’s poor.

The Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati adopted a list of nine “Housing Principles,” designed to encourage the development of more affordable housing.

“Sacred scriptures tell us to make sure no one wants for food, clothing and shelter,” states the Preamble to the Housing Principles. “Our interfaith coalition historically and at present sees homelessness and affordable housing as a major social issue that demands more work be done.”

MARCC voted on the principles because multi-million dollar projects developed in recent years have displaced affordable housing at a time when the community desperately needs it, said Executive Director Margaret Fox.

“There’s been a significant loss of affordable housing units in downtown, Over-the-Rhine and across the city,” Fox said. “We realize development has to happen, but these affordable housing units are not being replaced.”

A two-bedroom apartment or house in the Greater Cincinnati region is defined as affordable if the rent is $735 per month, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To afford that amount, however, a renter would have to earn roughly $14.50 per hour, Fox said.

“If you’re unemployed, you’re not making that kind of money,” she said. “If you’re homeless, you’re not making that kind of money. If you’re mentally challenged, you’re not making that kind of money.”

MARCC’s Housing Principles call on local government officials, nonprofit developers and business leaders to:

• Promote the Fair Housing Act, by prohibiting discrimination.

• Apply The Americans with Disabilities Act.

• Serve Economic Justice, by dedicating a portion of all government grants to affordable housing development.

• Reduce Foreclosures.

• Maintain Affordable Rental Units.

• Set Reasonable Rental Subsidies to Attract Responsible Investors.

• Acknowledge the Real Unemployment Rate, by including people who are unemployed for a year or more.

• Support Housing for Young Adults, by increasing the number of affordable rental units for young adults aging out of foster care and risk becoming homeless at 18.

• Advocate for Restorative Justice, by finding ways to lessen stigma and barriers for people with criminal histories who need affordable housing.

Among those who spoke in support of the principles were The Most Reverend Joseph Binzer, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, along with representatives of the Cincinnati Islamic Community Center and the Unitarian Universalist Council of Greater Cincinnati.

The next step for MARCC will be communicating the principles with parishioners, city officials, business leaders and nonprofit developers, Fox said.

Part of the goal is to raise awareness of the need, Binzer said, since the issue of poverty can be “out of sight” and “out of mind.”

“Where it really begins to hit home is when you know someone who is struggling with unemployment or foreclosure or has had to move in with another family member,” he said. “It’s a concern not only for Catholics, but for other people of faith, too.”

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Local News
Popular high school 'assassin' game worries some
Popular high school 'assassin' game worries some

In an era of heightened security threats, school and police officials are warning students that a popular fun game could go wrong. 

From a pair of molecules to a $1 billion biz
From a pair of molecules to a $1 billion biz

Local startup Sirrus announced a new CEO and rebranding strategy in recent months. The moves left its founder looking for work.

Will poor quality burst the craft beer bubble?
Will poor quality burst the craft beer bubble?

As craft beer gets more and more popular the nation has seen an explosion in breweries; but can the country support the growth? Some fear bad…

Police find missing 2-year-old; arrest mother
Police find missing 2-year-old; arrest mother

Campbell County dispatchers say police have located a missing Dayton, Ky., 2-year-old and her grandfather.

Former partner to testify against Ohio lawmaker
Former partner to testify against Ohio lawmaker

A trial date is expected to be set for a southwestern Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud and theft for allegedly misleading investors about a…

Auto parts maker to pay fine for price-fixing
Auto parts maker to pay fine for price-fixing

The U.S. Justice Department says an auto parts manufacturer accused in a price-fixing conspiracy has agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of…

Gay rights group seeks to expand marriage case
Gay rights group seeks to expand marriage case

A gay rights group wants to intervene in an existing case in hopes of getting a federal court to overturn Ohio's gay marriage ban and…

Trial back on after mistrial in 2012 murder case
Trial back on after mistrial in 2012 murder case

A courtroom brawl sparked a mistrial for a man facing murder charges in October 2013 and a new trial is underway.

Driver may have fled crash that killed teen
Driver may have fled crash that killed teen

A 911 recording that documented the moments after a stolen vehicle slammed into a tree, killing a teenage girl, sheds new light on the…

Tri-State briefs: April 24, 2014
Tri-State briefs: April 24, 2014

A wrap-up of local stories happening Thursday, April 24, 2014.