Building a Safer and More Beautiful City (Part 1)
“When I came on the City Council in 2015, I immediately pushed for smarter minimum housing codes. The Residential Minimum Standards Ordinance we passed that year empowered the city to do what property owners are either unwilling or unable to do on their own.”
Who pays when slumlords neglect properties? We all do.
Picture is from YES Weekly article ‘Misplaced evidence’ caused City of Greensboro to settle with Arco
Back in 2018, Avalon Trace was a 176-unit eyesore that was affecting the health of its residents and the surrounding community. It was a place with mold and moisture issues, backed up sewage, and vermin infestations. Residents there had 120 times the number of hospitalizations and ER visits for asthma than expected.
Avalon Trace was a symptom of a broken system. It survived on the backs of health care providers, taxpayers who paid the cost of frequent calls on city services, local philanthropy, and groups like the Greensboro Housing Coalition. And it did it for far too many years.
When I came on the City Council in 2015, I immediately pushed for smarter minimum housing codes. The Residential Minimum Standards Ordinance we passed that year empowered the city to do what property owners are either unwilling or unable to do on their own.
Now the city can make repairs directly to a substandard property and a lien can be placed on the property motivating landloards to make needed repairs and putting the city first in line to get back money if the landlord declares bankruptcy or sells the property. As a result, in large part due to the smarter ordinance, Avalon Trace was ultimately sold to more responsible owners – and our community has more affordable and safe housing.
We need to work with groups like the Greensboro Housing Coalition and others to do even better. When I become mayor here are some positive steps we can take:
- More resources for enforcement.
- Tougher accountability unlike what we saw in the Agapion case.
- Aggressively pursue federal grant money for affordable housing.
Making Greensboro more livable requires that we address the decay which destroys neighborhoods. Tomorrow we’ll talk about another aspect of this issue – the good repair ordinance for non-residential (e.g., commercial) properties.
For Our Future,
P.S. – primary voting day is May 17th, early voting starts April 28th, and absentee voting starts March 28th.