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Rally to save and effort to close transitional houses
CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- More than 100 supporters of New Foundations Transitional Housing gathered at city hall Monday in the hope of saving the houses from closure.
The homes for recovering addicts have become a point of contention in Price Hill. Neighbors found out about the seven houses that were operating and complained to the city. Officials, including Mayor John Cranley, say the houses are operating in violation of the zoning code. The homes on W. 8th St., Seton, McPherson, Iliff and others streets are zoned for single and two-family use. Between 12 and 15 people live in each home.
Monday morning, supporters gathered at city hall for the "Yes In My Backyard" rally.
"That's all we want is to just continue what we're doing. What we're trying to do is so good for the community," said Ross Shively, the owner of New Foundations Transitional Living.
Shively said he would like to work out a compromise with the city. He said his homes are necessary since the area is battling a heroin epidemic.
"The city should be funding facilities. If they want me to move my people out of these houses then maybe they should invest in a large apartment facility that includes detox, a treatment center and apartment style living for transitional housing," Shively said.
Shively claims the city's zoning code violates the Fair Housing Act since his tenants' status as recovering addicts qualifies as a disability.
But residents in Price Hill do not believe Shively's claim. They've turned in a petition to city hall supporting the effort to shut down the houses. They've questioned Shively's motives since he has given presentations at real estate seminars about the profitability of operating group homes. Shively charges each resident $322 per month in rent.
"What we think is this is just a guise for a real estate investor to collect way more rent per month out of that many residents than he could ever get in a normal situation," said Price Hill resident Pete Witte.
Mayor Cranley has given NFTL 90 days to comply with the zoning code. Cranley has asked agencies that work with recovering addicts to assist NFTL's tenants in finding new places to live.
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