Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance (CAHA)


Every month for the past twelve years, representatives of HUD, developers, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, advocates, and social providers meet to discuss the state of affordable housing locally. The primary purpose of the group is to monitor affordable housing in the community and work to assure that there is not a reduction in affordable units in our community.  We work with HUD to monitor the supply of subsidized housing in Cuyahoga County and preserve and expand the opportunity for those with local incomes to maintain that housing.  Meetings include speakers to talk about issues, trends, programs, or recent information related to affordable housing in the area, along with time for updates and discussion.

CAHA includes representatives from these and many other community organizations and social service agencies: Alliance of Cleveland HUD Tenants, Cleveland Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), City of Cleveland Department of Community Development, Cleveland Tenants Organization, Cleveland VA Medical CenterCleveland State University, Cuyahoga County Department of Development, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Cuyahoga County Land Bank, The Housing CenterEmerald Development and Economic Network (EDEN)Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry, Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio, The Office of Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Office of Senator Sherrod Brown, West Side Catholic Center, ADAMHS Board staff, Other charitable organizations and individuals

Who organizes and attends CAHA?


The program started back in 1997-8 when there were huge threats to affordable housing in Cleveland.  The most immediate was the loss of Longwood Estates on Community College between East 33rd and East 40th and Woodland.  Cleveland was facing the loss of 700 units in this complex along with hundreds of others scattered throughout the City.  Advocates felt they needed a monthly meeting to find out accurate information about all these properties locally.  We needed a venue where federal officials could meet with local officials from the City and County to talk about threats to affordable housing. The goal was to have a place where everyone could receive up to date information, and then could go to do advocacy and public policy with that information. 

      It was an attempt to be transparent and have everyone receive consistant information about affordable housing.  Spencer Wells and Mike Foley of the Cleveland Tenants Organization took the lead along with Brian Davis of NEOCH and Cleo Busby of the Alliance of Cleveland HUD Tenants.  Marty Gelfand of Congressman Dennis Kucinich's office was there at the beginning.  Linda Warren and Bill Ressegger from the City of Cleveland were helpful in founding this organization.  Phil Star (Cleveland State University) and Peter Iskin (Legal Aid Society) represented the CTO Board and helped to organize CAHA in the beginning.  Warren served as its first chair and then Phil Star took over.  Scott Pollack was always helpful representing CMHA at the beginning of CAHA, and regularly gave updates on the struggles of public housing locally.  Doug Shelby was the local head of the local HUD office at the founding and for much of the first 12 years of CAHA.  The monthly meeting always features an update on "troubled property" but also includes updates from social service providers and housing programs in Greater Cleveland.

Join us and get involved!

Join us at our monthly meetings, on the first Monday of the month at HUD at 1:30 pm. unless there is a federal holiday.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact NEOCH or the chair of CAHA, Phil Star at (216) 687-2241. If you would like to present at an upcoming CAHA meeting please send an e-mail to Chris Knestrick  (at) neoch (dot) org.   All meetings are open to the public.

Meetings involve regular updates from CMHA about current housing statistics and information, along with updates from the Cuyahoga County Community Development Department, Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, Cleveland Tenants Organization, and other Cleveland area development departments. Speakers address the current needs in affordable housing, issues affecting housing, and the foreclosure crisis.

2018 Schedule:

January 8th:
Diane Gatto will discuss the latest stats and the trends from 211       

February 5th:
Ayonna Blue Donald, the Interim Director of Building and Housing and Judge Ronald J.H. O’Leary from Cleveland Municipal Housing Court. Ayonna Blue Donald will speak about the Rental Registration program and Judge O’Leary will speak about plans for the Housing Court. Finally, they may offer remarks on the general state of affordable housing from their perspective.   

March 5th:
Spencer Wells from Cleveland Lead Safe Network, and Mark McDermott from Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. Spencer Wells will speak about the work to make Cleveland housing stock lead safe and the work of the network. Mark McDermott will talk about the work of the Housing First Coalition and the recent announcement of the end of long term homelessness by 2020.  Finally, they both will give a general overview of the state of affordable housing from their own perspective.  

April 2nd:  
Frank Ford, the Senior Policy Advisor at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy will present an update on demolitions and housing trend in our community. Particularly, he will discuss the Vacant and Abandoned Property Action Council. 

Dr. Jason Wood, the Chief of Public Affairs from Cleveland Water.  Dr. Wood will be discussing the Water Department’s billing and shutoff policy  an issue that effects many low income members of our community.   

May 7th:
Kris Keniray and Maria Smith about the work of the reentry committee. They will discuss the work of reentry committee and a new study (work in progress) that is looking at the barriers that prevent people being with criminal records from accessing affordable housing in our community.  

June 4th:
Michael Leply and Lenore Mangiarelli from the Fair Housing Center for Rights and Research and Marge Misak, the Director of the Land Trust Program of NHS. Michael and Lenore will discuss the 2018 State of Fair Housing in Northeast Ohio Report, published in April 2018. There will also be updating us on the Housing Voucher Discrimination and Race discrimination in Cuyahoga County report released in December 2017

July 9th
Beth Glas, Executive Vice President of MAHO and Director of our Anderson Center for Accessible Living and John Anoliefo, the Executive Director of the Famicos Foundation.   

 August 6 :
Congressional Forum on the Budget and Affordable Housing with Nick Turner from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s Office and Ken Williamson of Senator Sherrod Brown’s office.

September 10th:
Kenneth Surratt, The Deputy Director of Housing and Community Development for Cuyahoga County and Hazel Remesch, Legal Aid Supervising Attorney, will discussion the impact of evictions on our community and the representation of tenants in eviction matters.

October 1
Douglas Argue, Managing Director from COHHIO (Coalition of Homelessness and Housing in Ohio) is our special guest from Columbus to discuss affordable housing challenges and Priorities in State Government

November 5:
The Directors of the four neighborhood Community Development Corporations - Jeff Epstein (Mid-town), Thomas McNair (OCI), Jeff Ramsey (DSCDC), and Michael Flemming (St. Clair). We will hear an update on the work in the community and they will offer general thoughts and challenges about the continued development of affordable housing in their communities. 

2017 Schedule

Robert Fuchs Housing Court Specialist at the Cleveland Housing Court will discuss the housing violations, search warrants and types of violations that the court is involved in addressing. 

Brian Davis of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless will give an overview of homelessness locally including the decline in the number of shelter beds and the overflow situation locally. 

Cleveland Lead Safe Network will brief the housing community on their efforts to protect children from lead paint exposure.   Retired advocate Spencer Wells and Chandra Law staff member, Marvin Brown IV will talk about their efforts to bring the Toledo lead prevention regulations for rental housing to Cleveland

Roslyn Quarto Executive Director of ESOP will update the group on the current operations of ESOP since the tidal wave of foreclosures and the work of renegotiating mortgages has somewhat levelled off. 

Diane Gatto Barrett of First Call for Help will give her yearly update on poverty and the social safety net. 

Beth Glas of Maximum Accessible Housing of Ohio will present the agencies plan for serving those with a physical mobility, disability or wanting to age in place.

Barb Karam of the Department of Veterans Affair will talk about the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program. This is the program that combines the supportive services of the VA with the vouchers from the Housing Choice Voucher program and available in the six counties surrounding Cuyahoga and Summit Counties.

Ken Surratt is the Deputy Director of the Cuyahoga Department of Development and will talk about the many housing policy initiatives that the County is currently overseeing.

Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio is our special guest to discuss the state budget, the impact of the budget on affordable housing and the Coalition’s attempt to raise additional support for the State Housing Trust Fund. 

Bill Whitney of the Cuyahoga Land Bank will give his periodic update on the work of the Land Bank and their attempts to partner with local groups to expand housing opportunities in the community.

Michael Cosgrove of City of Cleveland Department of Community Development will discuss the possible budget cuts at the national level especially CDBG and the impact on housing in Cleveland. 

Michael Lepley and Lenore Mangiarelli of the Housing Research & Advocacy Center will present on upcoming research on landlords refusing to accept Housing Choice Vouchers as a proxy for race based housing discrimination in Cuyahoga County. 

Kim Forman of Environmental Health Watch will talk about the EHW strategic plan in light of all the state/federal changes and summarize BUILDHealth successes, challenges and 2.0 aims/goals in the next round. She will look at the successes of the agency over the last two years.

Kelan Craig and Carlie Boos of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. They will give updates on OFHA, the agency plan and housing needs assessment, the 2017 Housing Tax Credit results and the draft of the 2018-2019 Qualified Allocation Plan.

Councilman Anthony Brancatelli who is the chair of the Community Development Committee for Cleveland City Council will talk about budget and policy issues facing the City in light of federal and state cuts. He will discuss plans for the City to continue to clear blighted property and save as many homes as possible.  He will talk about the changes with a new Community Development Director for the City.

Congressional Forum on the Budget and Affordable Housing with Nick Turner from Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s Office and Ken Williamson of Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. 

Jennifer Kuzma from the First Suburbs Consortium’s Community Development Department will speak about the work of the Consortium. The mission of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium is to initiate and support policies and practices that protect, maintain, and redevelop mature communities and foster regional cooperation.

Mary Leigh, the Programs Manager – Division of Community Development from the City of Lakewood and Timothy M. Boland AICP, EDFP, the Director of Economic Development from the City of Cleveland Heights will talk about 1) the initiatives the city is taking to increase affordable housing opportunities. 2) The barriers that their cities are currently facing. 3) What assistance from the County would be helpful to address housing issues in your community and 4) are there potential changes coming. 

Gary Katz, Executive Director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization. 

Dorivette Nolan and Latweeta Smyers from CMHA. They will discuss recent changes in the Public Housing program’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) and Housing Choice Voucher program’s Admin Plan.  

Who speaks at CAHA?