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In-Depth: CMHA residents concerned by agency's system-wide computer breach

In-Depth: CMHA residents concerned by agency system-wide computer breach
Posted at 9:54 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-19 23:08:35-05

CLEVELAND — Some residents living in housing assisted by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority are concerned about their personal information after the agency confirmed a system-wide computer breach started on Feb. 10.

CMHA resident Jeffery Trimble said the computer system breach has put his move from a home on Cleveland's East Side to a new house in Elyria in jeopardy.

Trimble said without computer access, CHMA staff members have so far been unable to transfer crucial financial information to the Lorain Metropolitan Housing Authority, which may cause him to lose his new home.

“With my mother being elderly I have to make sure all her things get taken care of, I have a kid who goes to school every day and it’s all on my shoulders," Trimble said. “Because of the delays, I could lose the deposit for the other home, which would be $1,050, and possibly lose the deposit on this home, another $1,000, if we stay too long—plus the $250 deposit for the moving truck. It was like nine days that the website was down, and when I called her she said she couldn’t get into her emails, she couldn’t get into her fax.”

CMHA Chief of Staff Jeffrey Wade told News 5 the agency website was down for eight days, along with computer access for many of its 700 employees, after a "third party actor" compromised its computer systems.

Wade said the agency webpage was restored on Feb. 18, and a core group of employees now have computer access once again.

Wade said it doesn't appear the personal information of more than 20,000 residents has been compromised, but the investigation is ongoing as his team looks to restore the agency web portal and complete computer access to all employees in the coming days.

Wade vowed to have his staff look into expediting the Trimble's case and said he's angry and frustrated the computer issues have had an impact on the CHMA community.

Still, some CMHA residents are concerned their personal information could be out there somewhere.

"That's when it hit me that this is much bigger than just their website being down." Trimble said. “A government agency of this size for nine days, and nothing is resolved, and they still don’t know when it’s going to be up. All our financial information, all of our banking information, they want every bit of our lives in their files, so what part of that personal information is out there?”