CLEVELAND, Ohio – City Council decided on Monday to create a program that would team up with non-profit neighborhood agencies to monitor the quality of homes and help the Clevelanders make repairs.

The move added about $ 1.8 million to Mayor Frank Jackson's spending plan for the year. The money will be used for:

  • Hire non-profit organizations such as community development companies to inspect and evaluate properties taking into account housing code violations.
  • Offer paint and supplies to help homeowners make repairs.
  • Provide four City Community Development staff to help coordinate the program.

The idea is to use the workers of neighborhood organizations to identify problems such as worn roofs and gutters, plumbing problems or peeling paint, and then advise and assist those who want to voluntarily repair housing code violations, said Councilor Tony Brancatelli.

Controls would be less formal than if municipal inspectors with badges were to carry out inspections, he said.

"It's really an effort to encourage voluntary compliance," said Brancatelli. "When we had the program before, we really found a lot of voluntary compliance."

The city partnered with the CDC for a similar code enforcement program about 10 years ago and funded the work with grants from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

But this program ended after the federal government changed the rules governing these grants, which could no longer be spent on the program.

Inspections are less intimidating than those conducted by housing inspectors, as those who conduct these audits do not have the ability to write quotes, said city council chair Kevin Kelley.

They could also help solve lead problems in older Cleveland homes.

"While this will not solve the main problem, it's a step toward conversation," Kelley said.

Monday's vote was the second of three that city council had to take to approve the budget. The final vote will take place on March 25th.

After that, the city council will work with the Jackson Community Development Department to define the parameters of the program.


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