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Policies & Strategies
Link: Housing Printabe Version (PDF)

The overarching goal is to
provide new and renovated housing that meets the needs and preferences of Clevelanders of all incomes, ages and lifestyles. The Connecting Cleveland 2020 Plan therefore puts forth a comprehensive set of policies relating to Housing citywide, each addressing a key issue—along with strategies through which we might take immediate steps toward implementing those policies:

  1. Decent and Affordable Housing. Give highest priority among the City’s housing initiatives to the provision of decent and affordable housing for all Clevelanders.

    1. Preserve and fully utilize the existing inventory of housing units with project-based rent subsidies for low income tenants.

    2. Increase the availability of high quality, below market-rate rental housing by maximizing the use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the Ohio Housing Trust Fund, Tax Exempt Bonds and the HOME Program.

    3. Utilize tax abatement to make newly built or rehabilitated, affordable housing available at the lowest sustainable rent.

    4. Promote the development of active tenant organizations to work with management in buildings with project-based rent subsidies to assure continued housing quality and affordability.

    5. Assure maximum utilization of available tenant-based rent subsidies to make housing affordable to low income families and individuals.

    6. Make homeownership financially feasible for additional households in stable, regional choice and other neighborhoods with specific reinvestment plans.

    7. Educate homebuyers on what is involved in financing and owning a home to increase their capacity to maintain and retain the home after purchase.

  2. Alternative Housing. Attract residents seeking an urban lifestyle by offering alternative housing types, including townhouses, condominiums, live-work spaces, and converted commercial, industrial and institutional buildings.

    1. Convert vacant commercial and mixed use buildings into housing where other amenities are developed to create lifestyle centers.

    2. Where a market exists, build townhouses along main streets where there is vacant land, demolish deteriorated commercial structures as needed and implement a property holding and maintenance program that makes land held for future use a community asset.

  3. Competitive Places. Create and preserve neighborhoods that are competitive urban places, characterized by mixed-use development, pedestrian-friendly design and transit access.

    1. Increase the number of high-density residential and mixed-use developments near transit facilities.

    2. Utilize Pedestrian Retail Overlay zoning to ensure that developments are pedestrian-friendly.

    3. Locate new housing near greenways increasing the opportunity for alternative means of transportation.

  4. Housing Choice. Provide a diversity of housing types in neighborhoods throughout the city , maximizing choices for residents of all incomes, ages, ability levels and social circumstances.

    1. Create more mixed-income communities.

    2. Assess the need for various types of housing in each neighborhood to determine what type of housing should be developed and develop a strategy for each neighborhood that markets or re-brands that community to compete for the identified market.

    3. Limit financial incentives to developments that demonstrate a new market for housing within each neighborhood or increases the affordability of such housing for low and moderate income families.

    4. Promote and encourage the use of universal design standards for all newly constructed housing.

    5. Ensure compliance with requirements concerning the creation of accessible units for all new construction or substantial rehabilitation housing development being assisted with CDBG, HOME or other federal funds.

  5. Code Enforcement. Target residential code enforcement in a manner that helps stabilize neighborhoods without causing undue hardships for low-income households.

    1. Provide training and resources that will allow homeowners to carry out more of their own maintenance and repair work.

    2. Offer a program that will help residents with financial constraints to prepare a budget that will help them to maintain their home.

    3. Develop a marketing strategy to promote existing home maintenance programs.

    4. Utilize neighborhood associations or other community organizations to organize volunteers to help correct code violations. (See, for example, )

    5. Encourage the use of home repair loan programs that offer financing at discounted rates before using publicly funded loan and grant products to allow low and moderate income residents to meet their home repair needs.

    6. Reduce housing operating costs through weatherization assistance and energy efficient building techniques, thereby allowing more money to be available for home maintenance.

    7. Target vacant structures for code enforcement.

    8. Use rental registration program to assure that landlords maintain buildings to code.

  6. Housing Development Incentives. Ensure that financial incentives for housing development are the minimum necessary to be effective, and do not result in undue losses of revenue for City services or the public schools.

    1. Reexamine the tax abatement program to determine its effectiveness. Look at changes that can be made to the policy that will sustain gains made in recent years, while increasing the revenue for the City and the public schools.

  7. Rehabilitation. Give priority to housing rehabilitation as the most effective means of making affordable housing available to the greatest number of residents.

    1. Undertake rehabilitation in areas adjacent to catalytic development projects or in areas where residential new construction occurred to maximize the investment of public dollars.

    2. Work with non-profit and philanthropic organizations to create a prototype for redesign of obsolete residential structures common in the city including the Cleveland double, small multi-family buildings, and modest bungalows.

    3. Redirect federal funds to concentrate a larger portion of those resources on rehabilitation of vacant and abandoned property in areas with a specific redevelopment plan.

  8. Land Assembly. Promote housing development through strategic, proactive land assembly.

    1. Work with CDCs, developers, market analysts and the community to identify acquisition strategies for priority areas for development of housing.

    2. Rezone areas to residential that are no longer appropriate for other uses.

    3. Remediate brownfield sites suitable for housing.

    4. Develop property maintenance capacity and standards for holding property until it can be reused at its highest and best use.

  9. Homelessness. Address homelessness through a multi-faceted strategy that includes emergency shelters, permanent supportive housing, medical and social services, and job training.

    1. Assure that everyone with an emergency need for shelter has access to shelter.

    2. Utilize street outreach workers to seek out those homeless persons living outside the shelter system.

    3. Encourage all homeless service providers and funders to adopt a housing first policy which seeks to minimize shelter stays and stabilize individuals and families as soon as feasible within permanent housing linked to supportive services as needed.

    4. Continue to support the production of permanent supportive housing units that can offer the opportunity for long-term homeless persons to leave the shelter system.

    5. Within the shelter system, provide immediate assessment and linkages to case management and mainstream social services, including agencies providing mental health care, substance abuse treatment, medical services and assistance to veterans.

    6. Work with the criminal justice system to strengthen the support for the reentry into the community of person returning from incarceration.

    7. Expand resources for and educate residents about programs providing assistance in preventing the loss of housing through eviction or foreclosure.

  10. Senior Housing. Develop housing for senior citizens in proximity to shopping, medical facilities, social services, and public transportation to support their ability to remain independent.

    1. Support development of senior housing that allows for and accommodates multigenerational families with designs that meet this need.

    2. Incorporate green space into new senior housing developments.

    3. Support development of senior housing that is located near transportation, shopping and medical services.

    4. Design housing that permits for ADA adaptation should future disabilities dictate.

  11. Design. Ensure that the design of new and renovated houses complements the character of the surrounding neighborhood, through a design review process that is effective, expeditious and equitable.

    1. Develop housing design guidelines for new housing development with supplemental guidelines for specific areas that will give developers direction prior to meeting with the design review committee.

    2. Develop housing rehabilitation guidelines for minimum standards for the size of kitchens and bathrooms where significant “gut” rehab is being done.

  12. Neighborhood Plans. Locate infill houses where neighborhood plans ensure a supportive environment for residential development.

    1. Limit the distribution of land bank properties for infill housing to areas that have a redevelopment plan in place.

    2. Utilize CDCs and other community agencies to acquire, renovate/reuse, and market vacant structures and vacant land in areas where plans have been developed.

  13. Green Building. Encourage use of “green building” principles in new and renovated housing.

    1. Development a zoning code that encourages green building and requires the use of green building techniques where the cost of the project is not significantly increased.

    2. Offer financial incentives such as low-interest loans or tax abatement to projects that use green building techniques.

  14. Housing Accessibility. Expand the range of residential opportunities for persons with special housing needs.

    1. Promote and encourage the use of universal design standards for all newly constructed housing.

    2. Ensure compliance with requirements concerning the creation of accessible units for all new construction or substantial rehabilitation housing development being assisted with CDBG, HOME or other federal funds.

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