Two Cincinnati neighborhoods are getting a boost of eviction and foreclosure relief from a company headquartered nearby.
About 200 families in the Bond Hill and Roselawn neighborhoods have been identified as at-risk for foreclosure and eviction, and Mercy Health is partnering up with organizations to offer $300,000 to long- and short-term housing security efforts.
"We've long understood that there is a link between health and housing," said Gina Hemenway, executive director of community health for Mercy Health - Cincinnati. "We've been looking at COVID-19 and trying to rearrange ourselves to better serve our patients and communities. And I think it has certainly aggravated housing instability for lots of families."
Mercy Health says the $300,000 will go directly toward emergency housing needs and more long-term solutions, like mediation with landlords and lenders.
The company is pitching in some of the money and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is matching some contributions. The money will be available to people on a case-by-case basis, Hemenway said.
Mercy Health officials started doing community outreach last April, before the pandemic started, to find out what community members needed to keep current residents in the area long term.
The pandemic has only exacerbated the housing situation in the two neighborhoods and across the county.
"The economic impacts of COVID-19 have worsened housing stability for households in Cincinnati and without intervention, we may see further growth in racial inequities, poverty and associated health disparities," Dr. Samuel Ross, chief community health officer for Mercy Health, said in a news release.
Other long-standing community organizations partnering with Mercy Health include the Bond Hill Community Council, Cohear, Community Action Agency, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, LISC Cincinnati, Roselawn Community Council and Working In Neighborhoods.
The company is also pitching in another $100,000 to analyze the effect of prevention strategies on the health of residents and their neighborhoods. Their goal is to use the information they find to help fund and guide housing policy.
The program launched Monday. To get more information about housing relief in Bond Hill and Roselawn, renters can call Housing Opportunities Made Equal at 513-721-4663. Homeowners can call Working In Neighborhoods at 513-541-4109.