VOICES: Displaced Anthony Wayne residents asking for a fair shot

Editor’s Note: This contributed column is part of an ongoing series that began on Sunday, Aug. 14.

My family moved into Anthony Wayne nearly three years ago. We’d been forced to leave our old apartment because the landlord wanted to “remodel.” Even then, it was very difficult to find a place we could afford, and we ended up being homeless for a week. We felt lucky to find a place at Anthony Wayne because the rent was fairly affordable and included utilities.

My husband, my adult son, and I share a one-bedroom apartment in Anthony Wayne. Our rent is $700. My husband and son are both disabled and trying to get approved for disability, but it’s a long process, so we are surviving on my monthly income of $1500.

In May, we received a notice saying the building was being sold and to be out by the end of November. This was devastating news to everyone living in Anthony Wayne. We aren’t just people who happen to live in the same building — we’re a community. We have a meal together once a week, with everyone chipping in who can. We have a “free table” of extra food, clothing, or household items for someone who needs it. Many of us even eat Thanksgiving dinner together.

I know the news was told we were offered help, but all we got was a list of landlords nearby. I’ve called every place on the list and struck out everywhere. Either they don’t have anything available, they have a crazy long waiting list, or (most common) they need proof that we make three times the rent amount.

It’s obvious to all of us that the owners have long since written us off. In February, the entire building was without hot water for 28 days. Since the sale was announced, we’ve had pretty much zero response to our maintenance requests.

We’re doing our best to get out by November like we were told, but it feels impossible. Rent is so much higher everywhere else than what we currently pay. Then there’s the deposit, plus first and last month’s rent to move in. The current owner is not making it any easier either. We’re only moving because we were told to, but she’s making us give a 30-day notice or she keeps the security deposit. Of the few people who have already moved out, I don’t know of anyone who got their deposit back. Either they didn’t give proper notice or it supposedly wasn’t clean enough. If you’re not re-renting the apartment and are just going to renovate it into hotels, why does any of that matter?

So far, most of the publicity about the sale of Anthony Wayne has been positive, and I want people to know that there’s a dark side to this sale. Real people are being displaced from their homes by this process, with nowhere to go despite our best efforts to find somewhere. I don’t understand how the City can provide millions of dollars to help a corporate developer draw tourists in, but nothing to help us ordinary folks who are part of the Hamilton community. We’re basically being given the option of living under the bridge across the road.

We need help. We’re not asking for much (certainly not $3 million dollars), but just enough to give us a fair shot in all of this.

Karyn Ginn has been a resident of the Anthony Wayne building for nearly three years.

Housing affordability in the Miami Valley

Jessie Gooding

As rents continue to climb across the region and many local residents find themselves working in occupations that on average do not pay enough for them to afford modest rental units, affordable housing is becoming an increasingly important issue for our communities and communities across the nation. New housing and commercial developments are planned across our region and each one sparks heated debate among residents who will live near them, the developers of these projects and civic leaders who must balance the needs of existing residents with growing the local economy and attracting newcomers.

» Springfield and the entire country needs more housing, fast

» We need to be smart, responsible with our growth

» Plan provides multi-year roadmap for neighborhood solutions

» Displaced Anthony Wayne residents asking for a fair shot

» New hotel in downtown Hamilton will make the city proud

» Cost of redevelopment should not include displacing residents

» Regional approach required to tackle affordable housing

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