Cincinnati Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant

On December 16, 2020 HUD awarded a FY20 $410,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning grant to the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority for two public housing sites in the West End neighborhood near the central business district.

Community Development Strategies led CMHA’s application development process. The grant application was submitted in September 2020.

The two-year planning process will start in January 2021. Timing is critical for West End stakeholders to build consensus, collaborate and establish a commitment to preserve and protect affordable housing, otherwise this neighborhood is in danger of losing the racial and economic diversity it has begun to rebuild and the African American community will be disenfranchised again. Despite decades of neighborhood disinvestment, CMHA and the neighborhood anchor institution Seven Hills Neighborhood House, and other community-based partners have been working closely with neighborhood residents to carefully plan for inclusive investment in the West End.

Partners/Building Consensus The CN Planning Grant will allow for West End stakeholders to build consensus, collaborate, and establish a commitment to preserve affordable housing. More than 35 committed partners are invested and have signed on to participate in the comprehensive planning process, led by CMHA, Community Building Institute, and local CDC, Seven Hills Neighborhood House. Through this process, community members and stakeholders will identify local assets, discuss current challenges, and create a vision for the future. These efforts will create an integrated and holistic plan to revitalize the Stanley Rowe and Liberty Street properties, improve neighborhood safety, and bolster education, health, and employment outcomes for families.

Replacing Obsolete Public Housing/Preserving Affordable Apartments CN planning will work to address physical and social components of the neighborhood. The sites include 554 physically and functionally obsolete units comprised of Stanley Rowe High-rise Towers and B (1962), Stanley Rowe Rowhouses (1952) and Liberty Street Apartments (1938). The buildings and systems have over $69M in capital needs. The 930 individuals (40% are children) that live in these public housing sites do not feel safe due to criminal activity that is concentrated in this area. The concentration of extreme poverty (93% of the households are below 30% AMI) presents significant supply and resource challenges for local service providers.