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Cranley announces plan to help transitional house residents

CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley announced Friday that New Foundations Transitional Living has 90 days to comply with the zoning code.

Cranley also announced a partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Recovery Alliance that would assist the company's 108 residents in finding a new place to live.

"The proven non-profits represented by the Recovery Alliance would never operate this way. They would work with local laws," Mayor Cranley said at a press conference.

Local 12 first broke the news about the city's efforts to shut down the houses on Wednesday.

Cranley said between 12 and 15 people live in each of New Foudations' seven houses in Price Hill. Cranley believes that's unsafe since the homes are zoned for single-family and two-family use. He said the health dept. has also received complaints about bed bugs and roaches at the houses.

"We are going to work with the court through litigation to make sure the residents, that the tenants have the time and the help they need to find alternative housing," Cranley said.

Cranley has enlisted the help of people who work with recovering addicts.
"Our plan is to try to put those individuals who are contacting us to put them at the top of the list to get them into a safe living environment with a recovery structure," said Ivan Faske of the Greater Cincinnati Recovery Alliance.

Mayor Cranley raised concerns about New Foundations' status as a for-profit company rather than a non-profit like other transitional homes for recovering addicts and alcoholics. Cranley said NFTL's owner, Ross Shively, gave a presentation last year about how running group homes can be incredibly profitable. Shively denied writing the promotion for the presentation that was given during a seminar. He said the presentation was about group homes - not transitional houses.

"The profit margin that comes out of it goes right back to the residents and the houses," Shively said in response to questions from Local 12 News reporter Jeff Hirsh.

House manager Jason Overbey added, "Why can't we be for-profit and help people? We can. This is the United States."

The city has requested a court order to shut down New Foundations seven houses and prevent an eighth one from opening.  Friday, an attorney for New Foundations filed a response to the city's request claiming the homes are protected under the Fair Housing Amendments Act. The response also claims residents of the home should be considered a family since they are living together with a common disability. All of the homes' residents are recovering addicts.

"I'm finding out from my attorney there's no reason I should be backing down at all. I haven't violated anything. In fact, the city is in violation of federal housing laws and it's a civil rights issue at this point," Shively said.

Supporters of New Foundations plan to rally at city hall on Monday morning at 10 a.m.

Fair Housing Claim PDF CLICK HERE

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