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Affordable housing has become a hot-button issue in Greater Cincinnati over the last few years, garnering media attention, promises from elected officials and no small amount of debate. Here's everything you need to know about affordable housing in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Exploring Legal Options To Cap Subsidized Housing In Neighborhoods

west end
Travis Estell
Flickr Creative Commons
Interim Council Member Steve Goodin says he's heard from residents in Over-the-Rhine, East Price Hill and the West End, pictured here in 2018, that these areas and others are "oversaturated" with subsidized housing.

Cincinnati officials are exploring the possibility of limiting the amount of subsidized housing in neighborhoods. Council passed a motion Wednesday asking city administration to investigate legal options for limiting new development of subsidized units in areas where at least 50% of housing stock is already subsidized.

Interim Council Member Steve Goodin says he's heard from residents of several neighborhoods, including the West End, East Price Hill and Over-the-Rhine. Goodin says these areas are oversaturated with such housing and residents are worried adding more will lower their own property values.

Goodin says he recognizes this is a controversial move.

"But it is just a motion at this point," Goodin said. "I do feel that we need some advice on what the law could be. But I'm hearing it from all over the city which is, 'The housing is coming, where is it going to go?' And I think it's a fair question."

The motion passed 6-2 with opposition from Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney and Chris Seelbach. Wendell Young was excused from the meeting.

"Saying that we're going to limit it to 50 percent or else you can't live here really rubs me the wrong way," Kearney said. "I don't like it. I don't think it's fair. We don't do that with high-income people, we shouldn't do it with low-income people. We need to open all our neighborhoods to everybody."

Goodin says he doesn't intend to stigmatize low-income residents, and council would have much more discussion before considering an ordinance to cap subsidized housing.

Betsey Sundermann says she would love to limit more subsidized housing, citing her own neighborhood of East Price Hill as an example of too much concentration.

"My guess is that the administration will say that we cannot control what a private person does with their property," Sundermann said. "But maybe we could create a council policy saying that we won't put money into low-income government subsidized housing if more than 50 percent of the neighborhood already has that."

Greg Landsman, Christopher Smitherman and Interim Member Liz Keating voiced approval for gathering more information on the topic without necessarily supporting a new policy to limit high concentrations of subsidized housing.

David Mann voted for the motion without comment.

Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.