Cleveland mayoral candidates say eliminating 'funding logjam' will save renters from eviction

Supreme Court strikes down eviction moratorium
Cleveland Mayoral Primary
Posted at 5:35 PM, Aug 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 08:22:54-04

CLEVELAND — The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden Administration's eviction moratorium Thursday. Earlier this week, News 5 asked Cleveland's mayoral candidates what they would do as mayor once the moratorium was lifted.

Three candidates, Sandra Williams, Zack Reed and Dennis Kucinich, said we need to better utilize federal funds that are already here to keep people in their homes.

"The federal government sent money to local governments that has not been used yet. There was so much money left on the table," said State Senator Sandra Williams.

Sandra Williams
State Senator Sandra Williams

She said people have either not applied for the program or have been waiting for funding.

"We need to figure out where the logjam is," said candidate Zack Reed, who added he would work with the Cleveland Housing Network and other stakeholders in a room to figure out how to get federal money into the hands of renters and landlords.

Zack Reed
Zack Reed

"It's not getting to people that's wrong," said candidate Dennis Kucinich who said his knowledge of federal policy and his personal experience will help.

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich, former Cleveland Mayor

"I know about this because as a child, my family was evicted a few times and had their things put out on the sidewalk and people walk by and just pick through it like it was rags," recalled Kucinich.

Councilman Basheer Jones also spoke about personal experiences.

Basheer Jones
Basheer Jones, Cleveland City Councilman

"I used to be in those pantries. I used to be in those shelters. So, I understand that poverty is jail and education is key," Jones said, adding he would create a department of homeless services to serve residents in crisis.

Two candidates, Ross DiBello and Justin Bibb, endorsed "pay to stay" legislation that would force landlords to accept late payments.

Ross DiBello
Ross DiBello

"Worst case scenario is the eviction because this has a tremendous trickle-down effect, especially for kids," said DiBello.

Bibb also called for cracking down on out-of-state predatory landlords and improving the housing department.

Justin Bibb
Justin Bibb

"We also need to do a better job inside City Hall of having a building and housing department that better supports our residents and renters and homeowners," said Bibb.

City Council President Kevin Kelley said he supports creating an eviction protection fund and has worked in council to make sure people going through eviction have the right to representation.

Kevin Kelley
Kevin Kelley, Cleveland City Council President

"But there's no defense for non-pay," Kelley said. "We also have to remember that we have a lot of good landlords that are struggling as well."

We reached out to current Mayor Frank Jackson for his immediate plans to help keep renters in their homes now that the eviction moratorium has lifted and did not receive a response by our deadline.