Across this country, affordable and transitional housing saves lives
by providing many people with the opportunity to succeed and live the fulfilling lives they deserve. Sadly, affordable housing is under an increasing attack. People in need of affordable housing are criminalized and stereotyped. In Cincinnati, Ohio, this attack is at an all-time high. There are many examples from around the country, but chief among them is the attack on the Anna Louise Inn. For 102 years the Anna Louise Inn (ALI) has provided affordable housing to women. The structure in which ALI is housed was built by the President William Howard Taft's family and donated to the manager of ALI, Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB) in 1909. The Tafts opened their hearts and wallets to homeless women in a prominent place in Cincinnati. They did not try to hide this impressive building in the country or some place off the beaten path. Talking to people in Cincinnati, it does not take very long before you will meet those who say, “Oh, ALI saved my mom’s life or my aunt’s or my wife’s or my sister’s…”
Cincinnati Union Bethel has worked for years to create a plan to serve the growing number of homeless women and they received funds to renovate the Anna Louise Inn in order to continue for another 100 years to provide safe, quality affordable housing. Western and Southern (W&S), the very large, very wealthy national insurance company, has their headquarters near the Anna Louise Inn. Western and Southern decided that they do not want the women who live at ALI to live near their offices anymore and in fact W&S wants to take over the building in order to build luxury condominiums and play areas for the wealthy. They have launched a campaign to oust ALI on the misguided notion that women with very low incomes are dangerous and bad for business. W&S went as far as to sue the non-profit that runs ALI, Cincinnati Union Bethel and the municipal government, in attempt to delay the project. The goal was to run out the clock on the tax credits issued to ALI to expand thus threatening the Anna Louise Inn’s very existence and the lives of so many seeking refuge from the financial storms of the last five years. Western and Southern has championed itself as a corporate leader in Cincinnati, but has acted to divide the city and pit one class against another. The advocates in Cincinnati are asking for a national boycott to remind this national corporation that every community needs to find a home for women struggling in our society. We have to send a message to Western and Southern- women and affordable housing are valuable and contribute to our society and should not be pushed to the fringes. One of the largest insurance companies in the United States must stop the legal actions against Anna Louise Inn, and figure out a way to quickly move these women back into the community so that they will have enough disposible income to be able to afford life insurance.
The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board has endorsed this boycott, and supports the message that Western and Southern needs to accept the Anna Louise Inn and assist their expansion of the transitional shelter and the permanent supportive housing project. We want to see Western and Southern drop any further lawsuits.
What can you do:
- Sign on to the Petition at Change.org
- If you have life insurance from Western and Southern or they manage your finances consider looking somewhere else for your insurance needs or financial advice.
- If you are a business and have any financial relationship with Western and Southern consider a resolution to move your funds or take your business to another organization that has a more neighborly relationship with its home city.
- Boycott the Western and Southern Tennis Tournament this summer in Cincinnati. Instead send those dollars down to the Anna Louise Inn or the Cincinnati Coalition to support homeless women.
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