The group heading a supportive housing project in Avondale announced Feb. 14 that it will initiate monthly “good neighbor” meetings to address concerns about the facility. The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Church of the Living God at 434 Forest Ave.
National Church Residences (NCR) says the meetings will help “set the highest property, safety and conduct standards” for the 90-unit Commons at Alaska facility, which will aid the chronically homeless, disabled and poor.
The meetings should help address some Avondale residents’ concerns about the project. Although several opponents of the facility say their opposition is not rooted in a not-in-my-backyard attitude that follows many supportive housing projects, critics consistently argue the housing facility will attract a dangerous crowd that would worsen public safety in the neighborhood.
Critics’ claims contradict some of the research done on supportive housing. A study conducted for similar facilities in Columbus found areas with permanent supportive housing facilities saw the same or lower crime increases as demographically comparable areas.
Still, the controversy eventually reached City Council after Councilman Christopher Smitherman proposed pulling the city’s support for state tax credits funding the project. In January, council rejected Smitherman’s proposal and voted to continue supporting the project. (It’s questionable whether a different council decision would have made any difference, since NCR already received state tax credits last June.)
By several economic indicators, Cincinnati’s worst-off certainly need more support. About 34 percent of the overall population and more than half of the city’s children live in poverty, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.