HOUSING & CONSUMER
Preventing Homelessness and Improving Housing Conditions
Legal Aid works to preserve affordable rental housing in our communities and to protect the rights of people who live in rent-assisted housing. Helping low-income people achieve housing stability is central to our mission. It is a foundation that enables individuals and families improve their overall economic situation.
Evictions asymmetrically affect the neighborhoods with the highest poverty rates and have a disproportionate impact on female-headed households and communities of color. Serious emotional and economic repercussions often follow housing loss. Our approach is to prevent evictions before they are filed, or as soon thereafter as possible through a combination of helping renters apply for emergency assistance funds, negotiating with landlords to accept the assistance funds, and representing clients in court.
Our housing attorneys also work to remedy unsafe rental housing conditions, avert Housing Choice Voucher terminations, prevent illegal lockouts, utility shut-offs, or other emergency threats of loss of housing.
The threat of foreclosures is increasing due to pandemic related job losses with low-income neighborhoods hit hardest. Ohio continues to see high foreclosure rates, and still has areas with vacant, blighted residential property.
Legal Aid strives to prevent low-income individuals’ loss of homes from foreclosure and predatory lending activities. Our approach is to prevent foreclosures before they are filed, or as soon thereafter as possible through a combination of helping low-income homeowners apply for emergency assistance funds, negotiating with lenders to accept the assistance funds dismiss the foreclosure. We also defend homeowners already in foreclosure by negotiating settlements with lenders so that homeowners retain their homes affordable mortgage payments.
We also assist nonprofit housing developers to acquire and renovate vacant blighted property to revitalize neighborhoods.
Legal Aid works to preserve and improve affordable rental housing in Southwest Ohio. There is a large gap in available affordable housing, which is a significant complicating factor for renters seeking new, safe, affordable rental housing.
Legal Aid represents tenant groups in large multi-family buildings to force landlords to properly maintain their properties. We work with lenders and city officials to ensure large properties are safe and livable. When necessary, we advocate with courts to appoint receivers to manage the buildings. Recently we represented the tenants of the 83 unit Alexandra Apartments in Walnut Hills in a case that ended with a preservation buyer committing to keep the building as affordable housing.
We work with a variety of nonprofit and community-based organizations to improve conditions in the Greater Cincinnati neighborhoods with the highest incidence of poverty. These include Price Hill Will, Avondale Community Development Association, Walnut Hills Redevelopment, and The Homeless Coalition.
Legal Aid leads community efforts to revitalize neighborhoods so that they become vibrant and stable places to live and work, reduces neighborhood blight and conducts advocacy to create policies which improve neighborhood safety, prevent foreclosures and preserves and improves affordable rental housing.
Protecting the Consumer
Victims of serious consumer fraud need legal help to obtain proper relief and compensation and needy families can require advice or representation to resolve serious debt problems.
Overwhelming debt burdens weigh heavily on low-income consumers, especially those attempting to re-enter the workforce or those looking for affordable housing. Our Bankruptcy program assists low-income consumers in Southwest Ohio in need of Chapter 7 bankruptcy who cannot afford to hire private attorneys.
We can help consumers whose income falls below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, who would benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.