Friday, April 22, 2005


St. Anthony Village - Paradise in OTR

I had a meeting last week with Margery Spinney (Executive Director of Cornerstone Community Loan Fund). This organization is doing some amazing things in Over-the-Rhine. In a time when it seems that most buildings in Over-the-Rhine are either being developed into $250,000 condos, or being left vacant and dilapidating, Cornerstone is doing something unique.

They are creating a program that allows residents, who can't afford to buy their own home/condo, the opportunity to live in a clean, safe and positive environment. You may have heard the stories about the problems in OTR at the Head Start facility. In which a rash of crimes at a convenience store across the street from the school culminated in an armed robbery while a teacher was inside that resulted in the teacher having a gun put to her head. Well one block down is where the St. Anthony Village resides.

The St. Anthony Village project is based on a program called Renter Equity. In a nutshell, the program puts requirements on the renters for maintenance, community meetings, paying rent on time, etc. In return the renters earn credits that after five years can be turned into payments from the loan fund. These payments, which can amount to as much as $5,000, allow the renters to invest in themselves through home down payment, tuition costs, retirement fund, or other personal asset. The program started in 2002 and is a raging success. I toured the facility and it's an oasis in an otherwise rough neighborhood. It's safe, secure, and clean. They are currently expanding the project to other areas in OTR. It benefits the renters, the community and the property owners. The renters get the above mentioned benefits. The community has more people who have a long term stake in the neighborhood. The property owners get stability in renters, and higher long term property value. It truly is a creative program and a win/win/win situation. Congrats to Margery and everything her team is doing in the area.

Give Back Cincinnati will be assisting them on May 1st in sprucing up three new buildings they have recently taken ownership of. Come on out and help, we'll also be fixing up the area south of Findlay Market.

I like your blog. It is always positive and presents events around town in a way which allows others to find new things. I am intrigued by several of the events and am looking at my schedule to see if it is possible to get involved. It always seems to be a matter of time.

Keep up the good work.
Cool story, thanks Joe.

And to echo the comment above...I agree, it's nice to read some positive news. Too many other local blogs get off on negativity.
This is a great program that I talked a lot about in my campaign. I'm glad to see others bringing attention to it.

Your site is proof that blogs can fill a void left by corporate media.

Justin Jeffre
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