More than 50 Cincinnati City and community leaders boarded a bus this morning to travel to Columbus with the goal of learning about its success in moving homeless individuals into permanent supportive housing.
Organized by the Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless (CoC) and Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, the delegation will visit The Commons at Grant and The Commons at Buckingham, two 100-unit permanent supportive housing projects developed by National Church Residences.
In 2008-2009, City Council and CoC directed a public process to put together a "blank slate" comprehensive program that would help move people from homelessness to homes.
The resulting 109-page Homeless to Homes plan (PDF) recommended an increase in permanent supportive housing units from 863 to 1,936 and an increase in case management services. Twenty-five units of permanent supportive housing are currently under construction by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing and 3CDC at the Jimmy Heath House, in Over-the-Rhine.
Additionally, Homeless to Homes called for 422 emergency shelter beds, 456 transitional housing beds, and increased cooperation among funders and social service agencies.
In May 2009, Council adopted the plan and asked that its findings be incorporated into the City's 2010-2014 Consolidated Plan. Many of the plan's recommendations are expected to take three to five years to implement.
The trip comes at a time when Cincinnati's problem with homelessness has seen its profile rise within the local news cycle:
- The death of Joann Burton, run over and killed by Cincinnati police officer Marty Polk as she slept in Washington Park;
- 3CDC's pending $47.3 million reconstruction of Over-the-Rhine's Washington Park, which many advocates say will displace homeless individuals who stay in the park during daylight hours;
- The Drop Inn Center board's decision to fire long-time executive director Pat Clifford; and
- A lawsuit filed by tenant's of Downtown's Metropole Hotel in U.S. District Court looking to stop 3CDC's conversion of the building into a 160-room 21c boutique hotel.
Making the trip are City Manager Milton Dohoney; Councilmembers Chris Bortz, Laure Quinlivan, and Wendell Young; CoC Executive Director Kevin Finn; and numerous advocates for the homeless, homeless service providers and funders, and other community stakeholders.
Photo: The Commons at Grant, Columbus, Ohio.
Previous "homeless" stories on BC:
OHFA awards $2M in affordable housing tax credits to Anna Louise Inn, North Rhine (7/5/10)
Ordinance gives Lighthouse OK for Corryville shelter (6/30/10)
Cincinnati committee approves $14M package for Washington Park (6/28/10)
3CDC buys Metropole, plans 21c luxury hotel (11/9/09)
Cincinnati homelessness strategy close to implementation (5/20/09)