CINCINNATI — Across Hamilton County, the clerk of court reported local eviction rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels, and as federal emergency rental assistance ends, a Cincinnati nonprofit is hoping a new initiative can help address some of the most common eviction cases.

The GreenLight Fund is investing $600,000 to launch the Renew Collaborative in partnership with the United Way of Greater Cincinnati, hoping to help prevent hundreds of evictions over the next four years.

What You Need To Know

  • The Renew Collaborative helps tenants facing eviction make up back pay of rent and maintain housing stability

  • The collaborative provides case managers that follow up with clients to prevent future evictions

  • The GreenLight Fund and United Way are piloting the program for CMHA tenants

  • Organizers hope the program helps keep 90% of CMHA tenants in stable housing.

The Renew Collaborative is a national program through HomeStart, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that works with tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent to get back on track, make their landlords whole and ensure they can stay financially stable for the future. 

Since the program started, Kelly Mulligan, chief program officer for HomeStart, said it’s helped 87% of its tenants across multiple cities keep stable housing 48 months after intervention, thanks to the individual case management the collaborative provides.

“They’re working with folks to help them figure out how they ended up in this situation,” she said. “What are some things they can do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? What are resources they may not be accessing in the community? And then also keeping in touch with people for a year after we resolve their immediate crisis to continue making sure they can get all the help that they need.”

The GreenLight Fund and United Way are launching a pilot version of the program through the United Way’s care coordination team, focusing on providing services for tenants in Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority properties.

Over the next four years, Clare Zlatic Blankemeyer, executive director of the GreenLight Fund, hopes it expands to include more of the region’s largest property owners.

“This is about ending nonpayment rent evictions, supporting families in identifying the driver of their evictions, and ensuring Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority Residents have ongoing support to remain stably housed,” she said.

According to Shonda LaRaines, the community consultant for GreenLight Fund, eviction is one of the largest concerns for low-income residents in Cincinnati so many expressed to her the need for a program that not only provides financial assistance but will help them navigate their finances beyond the initial eviction crisis so they can find a sense of stability.

“With this help, people don’t have to worry about that anymore,” she said. “They have direction. They know where to go. They know who to call.”

The help is available through the United Way and the county clerk’s office plans to make resources available at the Hamilton County Municipal Court Help Center in the courthouse. The collaborative hopes it will help a minimum of 90% of CMHA tenants keep their housing after three years.

Editor’s Note: This article previously misidentified the help center at the Hamilton County Municipal Court. It has been changed to reflect its correct name. (10/25/22)