EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio – East Cleveland council members and some homeowners believe they have been left out of the process to have a say in how federal pandemic relief funds will be distributed to landowners for help them make much-needed repairs.
East Cleveland Councilor Nathaniel Martin said he and the other four city council members had not been included in Mayor Brandon King’s decision-making process.
Martin believes the mayor unfairly moved forward in deciding that each eligible homeowner will receive $ 3,000 each for home repairs and has already accepted hundreds of requests for funds, without obtaining input and approval from East Cleveland City Council .
Martin said he and the rest of the board believed each qualifying homeowner should receive $ 5,000 each.
“I find it deplorable from the point of view that we have to serve the citizens of East Cleveland,” said Martin. “This is not a power trip or an ego trip. We’re not against the $ 3,000, we say $ 5,000, sit down and maybe there is a pitch. $ 4000 deal. But not to sit down with us with us is unacceptable. It is a lack of respect for the board, it is a lack of respect for the board body. we are five and one of him I tried to meet him, he never answered me.
East Cleveland owner Lateek Shabazz agrees that at least $ 5,000 per qualifying homeowner is needed to have a meaningful impact in helping improve the city’s aging housing stock.
“Well, I need to rewire my second floor, and I would like to change my plumbing because a lot of kids get poisoned with lead from these old plumbing,” Shabazz said. “Some people right now, if they had to do any work, it would be $ 10,000. That $ 5,000 would be half of that. Some of us do it ourselves.”
Ward 2 East Cleveland City Councilor Juanita Gowdy said she was also unable to contact the mayor to discuss the amount of federal funds to be paid to each homeowner. Gowdy believes the mayor needs to be more transparent about how $ 13 million in federal funds in 2021 and an additional $ 13 million in 2022 will be distributed.
Gowdy agrees that eligible homeowners need more than the $ 3,000 proposed by the mayor.
“They need steps, they need porches, they need everything, you know windows,” Gowdy said. “And that will also disturb the citizens, who really need this $ 5,000.”
News 5 has made several attempts to contact Mayor King to get his side of the story and if he will finally sit down with his city council and give council members his opinion on the process, but so far he did not give an answer.
Council members told News 5 they are demanding the mayor respond, with federal home improvement dollars due to be distributed in East Cleveland in October.