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Cleveland organization that helps tenants stay in their homes could reopen

Posted at 11:29 PM, Feb 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-15 12:37:32-05

Talks have already started in an effort to find the funding needed to reopen the Cleveland Tenants Organization. 

The organization, which has helped thousands of tenants to stay in their homes,closed last week, after more than 40 years of service.

Cleveland Councilman Tony Brancatelli told News 5 a preliminary hearing involving his office, the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, and Cleveland Housing Court Judge Ron O'Leary, took place just days after the agency closed.

Brancatelli said the team is trying to find a partner agency to help with funding, and is hoping CTO could reopen this coming summer.

Brancatelli believes it's critical CTO be reopened, because its services to tenants are desperately needed. 

"When we're talking about the issues around lead paint, we're talking about advocacy for residents, folks who are in need," said Brancatelli.

"This is a tough time for them to be suspended, until we can figure this out."

Tenants like Ricardo Andujar told News 5 he could really use assistance from the CTO, after dealing with what he called "a problem landlord" for the past two years.

Andujar's rental home was gutted by a fire on Feb. 9, and he believes a lack of maintenance may have played a role in the blaze.

"It's just a lack of taking care of things, and not actually helping his tenants out, and keeping up with his houses," said Andujar.

"I hope they find the funding so they can help families like me and my family, and others like us."  

"I guarantee I'm not the only one out there that's struggling."

The fire left Andujar and 6 other family members homeless, the flames destroyed nearly all of their personal belongings.

The family has set-up a GoFundMe account to help them deal with the huge loss.