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Akron partners with nonprofit to create new housing mobility program

A pink eviction notice hangs on a white door beneath a peephole.
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Housing stability is the goal of the new Home Connection Service program.

Akron is partnering with the Fair Housing Contact Service nonprofit to form a new housing mobility program called Home Connection Service.

The new program, which includes mediation services geared toward preventing evictions, aims to help people facing rising rent prices and barriers to accessing affordable housing.

Lauren Green-Hull, director of FHCS, said the goal of the program is to keep people in stable housing.

“We believe housing is a social determinate of all. So if we can move folks into housing that creates stability for them then ideally the other areas of their life will stabilize too,” she said.

The partnership with the city allows FHCS to address a problem Akron has been dealing with for many years.

“This is a significant issue that has been growing, the access of housing that meets individual’s needs,” she said.

Green-Hull said there are situations that require people to have specialized living accommodations such as wheelchair access. Green-Hull said people may not know who to go to when they need specific living accommodations.

“We are hopeful, because of our strong relationships with landlords in the community and strong relationships with other housing providers and partners and strong relationships with members of the community, we will be able to bring everybody together,” she said.

Green-Hull said there are housing mobility programs all across the United States, but FHCS and the city are taking a different approach to assess living situations.

“Like the mediation program. That’s not something that’s traditionally offered around the county," she said. "We just see a huge need for it in our community, so that when a housing provider and a resident may be having a conflict, instead of just moving to file an eviction, there can be some conversation that can be had around that.”

Green-Hull said dialogue can prevent eviction because it allows for the two parties to discuss the matter before more extreme measures are taken. It also provides more time for a tenant to find other suitable housing.

“Our goal is to connect landlords and individuals with housing that will be long term so that folks can stay in the housing,” she said.

FHCS provides resources for both tenants and landlords. Tenants can attend education workshops, pre-move and post-move counseling, pre-eviction filing mediation services and can be connected with potential landlords.

Landlord services include connecting them with tenants who want to stay long term, pre-eviction filing mediation, training and education on Ohio tenant-landlord and fair housing laws and connections to community resources.

Eligible tenants can receive referrals from partner organizations and other agency programs. Landlords can reach out to FHCS directly. A website has been set up for landlords and tenants to see if they're eligible for assistance.

FCHS will host a townhall meeting at Compass Coffee Saturday, April 1, to give more information about the program.

Landlords who want to find out more or be a part of the program can email info@fairhousingakron.org

Kennedy Gotham was a news intern in the spring and summer of 2023. A journalism major with a minor in media advocacy at Kent State University, she plans to graduate in May 2024.