Cincinnati Council could vote later this month on an amendment for how it spends federal housing dollars. The proposal would shift $1.8 million dollars to an affordable housing project in Pendleton. That plan would rehab 40 units in the neighborhood.
But at least two council members want to know why this proposal could be funded, while a plan for permanent supportive housing in Avondale still has not received city dollars. That more than $500,000 request has been pending city review for nearly a year.
"They found another project that's not permanent supportive housing," said Council Member Chris Seelbach. "To redirect the funding too, so that they could inadvertently kill the project they didn't like even though council's majority said we want to go forward with it. That's what it feels like to me. It feels like this is a back door way of killing the NCR project."
National Church Residences (NCR) wants to build up to 100 units of permanent supportive housing for homeless and disabled individuals in Avondale.
The original plan called for the project to be built on Alaska Commons. But NCR is looking at alternate sites because of concerns from nearby residents.
Council Member Yvette Simpson also said she is concerned about the process and the proposed amendment.
"We did have council overwhelmingly approve this project," Simpson said. "So I think that at least says there's a will on Council for this project even if there are some site challenges. And I think to take a brand new project and let it jump over a project that's been in the que for over a year, to me is a practice that is a question."
The city administration's funding amendment relates to federal money allocated to the city from 2011 to 2013. A city official said that money must be directed to projects soon.
That official said there is nothing to prevent the Avondale project from receiving 2014 money. But she would not say why the city administration decided to move the Pendleton project ahead of the Avondale housing plan. Those answers could come in a formal written report from city administrators.
The Pendelton plan would renovate 8 buildings in scattered locations with 40 units of affordable housing. A city document said the structures were built in the late 1800's and early 1900's. They were converted into affordable housing in 1998, and now need interior renovation.
A council majority voted earlier this year to support the NCR project despite complaints from some members who want to stop it.