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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.

Hamilton Co. Commissioners Hear Public Input On Stimulus Spending

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Hamilton County residents and community leaders spoke for over an hour Thursday, telling the Board of Commissioners how they want to see federal stimulus money spent. The county will receive about $159 million from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Justin Jeffre co-founded a local chapter of the non-profit PHLUSH, which stands for Public Hygiene Lets Us Stay Human. He says the county has a lack of public restrooms.

"No matter what you do, it's something we all share in common as human beings — we all have those most basic needs throughout our day."

Jeffre hopes some of the ARPA funding can be used to build new public restrooms like the one added to Smale Riverfront Park about six years ago, especially along public transit routes.

The county's broad spending priorities for ARPA include $40 million for affordable housing. Laverne Mitchell hopes some of that will be invested in Lincoln Heights, where she serves as a Village Councilmember.

"More funding like this will assist our village in executing our housing plan for the future of our neighborhood," Mitchell said

Great Parks of Hamilton County is hoping to get a piece of the funding to make up for about $2.5 million in lost revenue last year.

"If we're able to receive that recovered revenue, there's some great things we can do to invest in the public assets in our community," said CEO Todd Palmeter. "Things like access to parks, connecting to nearby communities, enhanced link to public transportation."

Palmeter says park districts were excluded from the CARES Act, and an application for FEMA funding was denied.

Thursday's meeting was the second and final public hearing on the topic, although commissioners are still accepting feedback via email. Administrator Jeff Aluotto says a detailed spending proposal will be ready for the board to consider in about a month.

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.