Clevelanders continued to call for a participatory budgeting process during Cleveland City Council’s weekly public comment session. Several commenters also asked council to think about housing needs, including filling a gap left by rental-assistance programs that have ended, and passing what are called source-of-income protections aimed at preventing discrimination against residents who use housing vouchers to cover rent payments.
Josiah Quarles, of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), spoke about the ending of federal rental-assistance programs that helped people shelter in place. He called on the city and county and other local organizations to work toward more permanent solutions instead of relying on churches to fill in the gaps to house people.
Kyle Wright, a Ward 14 resident, urged council to pass what are called source-of-income protections, making it illegal for landlords to discriminate against tenants using federal housing choice vouchers or other assistance to pay rent. He also promoted passage of the Homeless Bill of Rights.
Cheryl Hardwick-Stewart, a lifelong resident of Ward 6, shared how excited she was at the idea of the city having a participatory budgeting process that would create ways for residents who aren’t usually involved to take part in setting priorities.