Greater Cleveland Congregations Leader Diana Woodbridge speaking to other GCC leaders.
The extraordinary organizing efforts of GCC’s Housing Taskforce, led by Diana Woodbridge, have resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council moving forward with legislation that would require foreclosure bonds to provide for upkeep and possible demolition of abandoned and neglected properties as they fall into disrepair.
Diana and her team got the entire City Council, along with the City Manager, the Chief of Police, the Judge of the Municipal Court and others with status and power regarding the city’s infrastructure to go on a tour last month of 19 foreclosed and distressed properties in the Noble neighborhood.
The GCC team exhibited clear focus, solid research and a well-planned strategy. For example, GCC leader and Cleveland Heights resident Melody Hart provided Councilman Mike Ungar with a spreadsheet listing seven of the properties that Council toured and how foreclosure bonds could have helped with their current blight. Ungar said that he found the GCC tour “on certain levels inspiring” in what neighbors are doing to keep their properties up, and “on other levels, horrible – especially when they (GCC) tracked how bond money could have been used on these eyesores.”
Cleveland Heights officials are considering a $15,000 foreclosure bond, as well as a $1,500 administrative fee, that would subsidize efforts to manage foreclosed properties. The proposed legislation should make it to a City Council meeting agenda this fall.
Advocates tried to get this legislation passed five years ago with no luck. With their persistence and organizing skills, Diana and her team overcame the obstacles and made it happen!