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HUD report: CLE can't use funds for housing code enforcement

Posted at 11:22 PM, Sep 28, 2016

A report just issued by The Department of Housing and Urban Development shows Cleveland has been improperly using hundreds of thousands in federal tax dollars for housing code enforcement.

The HUD reports state Cleveland is not allowed to use block grant funds for housing code enforcement through its 19 community development corporation throughout the city.

Cleveland leaders like Councilman Kevin Conwell told News 5 the loss of funding to the code enforcement partnership is a "systemic failure" on the part of the city and will allow hundreds of potentially dangerous homes to linger in many neighborhoods.

"We have to fix this situation as soon as possible," said Conwell.  "Code enforcement is already too weak in our city."

Community Development Director Michael Cosgrove explained the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars cut-off by HUD were not being misused.

Cosgrove said the HUD findings were a "bureaucratic interpretation," and he hopes to be working with city council members and the administration to find ways to restore funding to the code enforcement partnership in the coming months.

But residents like west side neighborhood block club leader Rebecca Kempton said the city has made a serious mistake that could have a critical impact on neighborhood safety.

"Without the inspection program these hazardous homes will just be sitting here," said Kempton. "These city leaders should have known what they were supposed to do in following HUD guidelines."

Meanwhile, HUD would not comment on its findings, and would only say the case is an open investigation.