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Supporters of transitional living protest at city hall

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- Protesters rally Monday to make their voices heard. They support the New Foundations Transitional Living facilities in Price Hill.

Last week, Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said New Foundations operates in violation of zoning codes.

New Foundations has seven halfway houses for recovering drug and alcohol abusers, and is in the process of rehabbing another building for its program.

Residents and clients of New Foundations say they have the right to use the buildings they have because of federal fair housing laws.       New Foundations says those federal laws take precedence over city zoning codes, which would otherwise block group living situations in single family areas.

New Foundations operators say they want to work with the city rather than fight it in court, because its residents are not causing problems. "We are peaceful, we are workers, we are family. 46 percent of our residents come into intake with college education, almost 50 percent come in employed and you might be surprised to know they even use soap and water when they bathe. We love Price Hill and we love Cincinnati."

A court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday on the city's effort to close New Foundations' facilities. Mayor John Cranley has said other organizations will work with residents to find them new places to live.

A veteran Price Hill activist says he and his neighbors oppose new foundations. Pete Witte says zoning codes exist for a reason, to protect communities and new foundations is trying to do an end run around the rules. "This is clearly a zoning code violation that needs to be addressed. There is appropriate zoned real estate in the city where you can do this. What we think, this is just a guise for a real estate investor to collect way more rent per month out of that many residents than he would ever get in a normal situation."

New Foundations has more than one hundred residents in its facilities.

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