Foreclosures in the Heights - League of Women Voters Heights Chapter presents the issue at June 12 meeting

Neighborhood blight, home values, lost tax revenues and city services, copper theft - the housing crisis and resulting rampant foreclosure rates affect everyone. The city of Cleveland has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country. The crisis has been moving into Cleveland suburbs, affecting Cleveland Heights for a number of years and now moving into University Heights and beyond.

This is a problem that all communities need to address aggressively. How are City Hall and the community confronting this problem? To answer this question the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area is hosting a presentation, Foreclosures in the Heights: City and Community Action, at its annual spring meeting, Thursday evening, June 12. Rick Wagner, manager of housing programs for the city of Cleveland Heights, and Kathryn Lad, executive director of the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), will speak and answer questions. The public is welcome to attend both the preliminary chapter gathering and meeting at 7:15 pm as well as the program, which will begin around 8 p.m. The meeting takes place in Council Chambers at Cleveland Heights City Hall, 40 Severance Circle.

Mr. Wagner, dubbed by many as a “walking encyclopedia” on foreclosure and housing issues, has been housing programs manager for the city of Cleveland Heights since 1998, directing the operations of both the city’s housing inspection department and housing preservation office. In this capacity, he oversees the administration of federal funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development for grant and loan programs offered by the city. Working with the First Suburb Consortium, he was instrumental in forging a partnership between the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and the suburbs for maintaining relations with CMHA’s Housing Choice Voucher Program. He has also contributed to the County's Lead Safe Renovation program. Mr. Wagner is certified by the International Code Council in the International Property Maintenance Code and the Lead Safe Renovation requirements.

Ms. Lad, a Heights homeowner, moved to Cleveland Heights from Southeast Ohio in 2006 to take her present position at HRRC. She actually began her career in the Cleveland area, and specifically in Cleveland Heights, as a retail manager and buyer. In 1987, she moved into nonprofit work, which has become a life-long passion for her. She is, of course, committed to the mission of HRRC, which empowers Cleveland Heights residents to keep their homes in good repair and in turn builds a strong community supporting our diversity. Over the years and especially in addressing the current housing crisis, the city and HRRC have collaborated extensively on housing issues in Cleveland Heights.

The evening’s agenda: 7:15 p.m. refreshments and chapter meeting. 8 p.m program: Foreclosures in the Heights: City and Community Action, Rick Wagner, Manager, Housing Programs, City of Cleveland Heights, Kathryn Lad, Executive Director, Home Repair Resource Center. Presentations will be followed by questions and answers.

Maryann Barnes is Chair of the League of Women Voters-Heights Chapter.

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 9:53 PM, 04.28.2008