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Housing Codes Should Protect Public Health, Not Penalize Low-Income Homeowners [housingmatters.urban.org]

 

By Christina Plerhoples, Stacy Schilling, and Joseph Schilling, Housing Matters, October 23, 2019

Recently, Vice published a story about Tamara Adrine-Davis, a resident of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, who is facing jail time because of housing code violations. Adrine-Davis, who is 57 and uses a wheelchair, hasn’t been able to raise the $8,000 needed for home repairs, such as fixing a step on her front porch.

The story raises questions about housing code enforcement, which we studied in Memphis, Tennessee, last year. What are these codes meant to promote—the health of occupants and the public or community aesthetics? How do these codes vary from place to place? And who is affected by these codes and decisions about how to enforce them?

Why do cities have housing codes, and how do they differ?

The evidence shows that blighted homes in a state of disrepair can lead to many negative health outcomes, including mental health issues, asthma, and physical injury.

[Please click here to read more.]

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