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Preservation, Transformation & Vaccination

As the largest property owner in Hamilton County, Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has access to thousands of families, and often times we go beyond housing to ensure those we serve are not left behind. Everyone knows there is a massive push to vaccinate people across the country and here in Ohio. CMHA established several new partnerships and expanded current partnerships with organizations when the pandemic first began and we have continued those relationships. The Council on Aging, The Hamilton County Health Department, The City of Cincinnati Health Department, the National Guard and Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority have worked together to get over 300 people vaccinated at six sites so far. The families at Riverview House were visited by special guests. Governor and First Lady DeWine visited the clinic and distributed homemade buckeye brownies after holding a press conference with Hamilton County Commissioner Alicia Reece. Congressman Brad Wenstrup was there, as an active member of the Reserves, vaccinating residents. There are vaccination clinics scheduled at six more sites and the agency is included in the Guard's goal of distributing vaccinations at three locations per week. We are also working closely with The Center for Closing the Health Gap on educating residents about the vaccines and scheduling appointments. A special public service announcement was created featuring Lincoln Ware that was distributed to residents.
Providing affordable housing for families across Hamilton County is the Mission of Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority but transforming lives and communities comes from our desire to be an asset to the community. This month we celebrated two bold transformations of properties that provide homes to over 200 individuals and families. A Grand Reopening was held for The Evanston, a $3 million RAD Conversion where 38% of the contract dollars were awarded to Section 3 businesses and 3 new livable wage jobs were created with an average salary of $32 an hour. New flooring, bathroom remodels, paint, electrical system upgrades, selective cabinet & countertop replacements and more are part of the scope of work completed at the 100-unit low-rise building located in the Evanston neighborhood.
More extensive interior and exterior upgrades were completed at Sutter View, the location of the second Grand Reopening celebration. This English Woods site includes 22 buildings that house 114 families and the transformation costs add up to approximately $34.5 million. Sutter View is the first all-encompassing RAD conversion where every unit was taken down to the studs. The modernization of the 76-year-old site included new facades, kitchens, flooring, windows, doors, lighting & plumbing upgrades, installation of energy-efficient appliances and more. Economic opportunities were also impressive with 11% of the contract dollars awarded to minority business owners and 13 new livable wage jobs created. Let me point out that transforming the sites is taking place with little to no permanent relocation of families.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is a critical partner for public housing agencies and CMHA has great working relationships with the HUD staff here in Ohio. HUD Director Brian Murray was one of many people to join us for the Grand Re-openings. Mr. Murray said, "CMHA is one of the best landlords in the great state of Ohio. Thank you Mr. Johnson for your vision, thank you CMHA staff for helping bring his vision to fruition. I like to say from the great Luther Vandross, he's changing a house to a home and that's very important for the residents." Tom Leach, HUD Field Office Director, also joined the virtual celebration and noted, "CMHA has demonstrated a strong history of protecting residents and through RAD has worked with residents to ensure that information is shared and that residents will keep housing opportunities." Our legislative partners are also significant and we were excited to be joined by Nan Cahall the Southwest District Director for Senator Rob Portman, State Representative Catherine Ingram, City of Cincinnati Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman, Hamilton County Commissioners Stephanie Summerow Dumas, President and Alicia Reece, Vice President. The Vice Mayor pointed out, "Evanston is a beautiful neighborhood. It deserves to have not just affordable housing but clean and safe housing. You're brilliant in using RAD as one of your tools to rehab the facility and keep the structure in place and then also keeping in perpetuity rents at a place so people can afford it for a lifetime." Thank you to every single person who joined the celebrations and I look forward to seeing you for the next one.
I offer my sincerest gratitude to everyone who played a part in the preservation of these sites. It could have been more challenging had it not been for the courage and tenacity of CMHA staff, residents and partners. Commissioner Summerow Dumas said it well, "When I think about the pandemic that you guys were able to complete all of this, it is certainly a miracle." CMHA is determined to find solutions that help all of Hamilton County. We will continue to push forward with our BOLD transformation and make changes that improve neighborhoods and increase equity for families through job creation.  

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