23 November, 2006

Housing Authority buys land for $150,000 an acre

First, a little background:

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) owns and manages property and administers rent subsidy programs to provide eligible low-income persons good, safe, affordable housing. CMHA maintains an accredited police department to ensure safe places to live and work, and a social services department that develops programs to enhance the quality of life of its residents.

CMHA is responsible for the management and operation of the local public housing program. They may also operate other types of housing programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The mission of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is to be the leader in providing safe quality affordable housing for individuals and families of Cuyahoga County.

CMHA is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, created under sections 3735.27 to 3735.50 of the Ohio Revised Code. It serves Cuyahoga County, excluding Chagrin Falls Township, through two federally assisted housing programs: Low-Income Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program.

The closest I have been able to calculate, which I admit may be off, the value of the property CMHA purchased in the area of E 79Th and Kinsman, is roughly $25,000 per acre.

$25,000 per acre.

CHMA paid six times that for the property.

Buying property for $25,000 per acre would leave a great deal for the actual building of much needed low income housing, or anything else CMHA could need.

It would afford the Authority to be able to serve the needs of this community.

But, as it stands, the community will pay for this for years to come.

Let's see if I can get this straight.

CMHA had an agreement to purchase 25 acres from Developer Todd Davis' company. The agreement, complete with purchase price was signed before CMHA got the appraisal for the property.

The original appraisal valued the land at $46,000 an acre.

The property, in the area of E.79Th and Kinsman, is one of the poorest areas in Cleveland. This is not a booming community.

There is no rush to build anything in this area, which is why it has been called the 'Forgotten Triangle'.

CMHA considered the price of $46,000 an acre to be too low.

Yup, that's what I said, they thought it was too low.

CMHA's Director George Phillips said the appraisal was flawed because it compared the property to other surrounding properties.

(Lots of head scratching here.)Isn't that as it should be? When I bought my house, it was compared to other properties in my neighborhood.

CMHA then got a second appraisal, which only compared the property to suburban sites. This appraisal valued the property at $150,000 an acre.

Who could afford their home if the appraisal was made by comparing their home to houses in the most affluent areas? Surely, the vast majority would be left wanting.

How will the Authority recover from this sort of loss?

They have been laying off.

They just recently narrowly avoided a strike.

I have heard no outcry of the injustice of further impeding those most in need.

The system would have no problem prosecuting to the fullest those most hurt by this gross negligence.

But, I haven't seen any of CMHA's officials in the news.

That's curious.

This is the sort of thing that crumbles the foundation of an institution.

How is George Phillips still employed?

How is that Board still seated? Authorizing an agreement in executive session contradicts what the sunshine law mandates.

How is $150,000 an acre providing affordable housing?

As a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, I want to know who is responsible for overseeing CMHA.

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