May 2020
What's Happening!

5/25   Closed for the Holiday
5/26   Board Meeting
5/27   HCV Quick Connect

Contact Us
Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority
1627 Western Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45214
(513) 721-4580
Find CMHA on-line and on social media:

Hello from the CEO!
True Collaboration
The Wright brothers gave us flight. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield gave us unique and interesting flavor combinations with Ben & Jerry Ice Cream. These two pairs have nothing to do with housing but they are great representations of collaborations that are impactful. Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority leadership collaborated with staff, residents, all levels of legislators and other stakeholders to create the new agency Strategic Plan. I am pleased to announce that the plan has been approved by the CMHA Board of Commissioners! The results of this true collaboration will guide the agency over the next three years. There are five main goals and dozens of action steps set forth in the CMHA Strategic Plan. CMHA staff suggested 45% of the action steps presented. The 2021-2024 Strategic Plan will increase the agency's success and sustainability. You are welcome to review the journey set forth in the plan, click here to view it online.
The pandemic we are all experiencing has created huge changes for companies and caused many distresses for families. Some residents have been scared to go out, some need jobs, food, cleaning supplies or masks and others need clarity on COVID-19 and the symptoms. We have responded to the non-housing needs of our residents in part because of collaborative work with organizations and individuals. A special resource page was created on our website where anyone can get information about jobs, food, education and more. I want to thank everyone for their generosity and the outpouring of support. The Center for Closing the Health Gap and The City of Cincinnati Health Department have played a huge role in supporting our families. Those two organizations and the women who lead them are featured in this month's newsletter. Please be sure to read about them below. 

Also, I want to let you know that we are continuing to make every effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) virus by preparing the agency for the physical transition of reopening the workplace to the public.  The CMHA telecommuting period will continue through June 30th.  We will continue to monitor incoming COVID-19 updates and make you aware of any changes that may arise. 

The partnerships we are building upon during this time remind me of something Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, " We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools." Thank you to everyone for your patience and dedication during these uncertain times! You are truly appreciated.

Gregory D. Johnson, MS, EDEP, PHM
Chief Executive Officer
HealthGap    Partner Spotlight: Center for Closing the Health Gap

Renee Mahaffey Harris - President & CEO of The Center for Closing the Health Gap
You likely have heard of The Center for Closing the Health Gap, but do you really know what the organization does? Their mission is to use community outreach, advocacy and education to lead efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in Greater Cincinnati. Individuals are equipped with the tools needed to take charge and be a part of addressing their health. The Health Gap has worked in collaboration with all local health systems over the past 16 years to address health disparities in this region to ensure every community has equal access to care. Currently, the organization is conducting ongoing work with UC Health, Christ Hospital, Children's Hospital and over 100 collaborative partners nationally, locally and statewide.

Building a Culture of Health is the motto or overarching message for The Health Gap. Health is at the core of all they do. Renee Mahaffey Harris leads the organization as the President and CEO and she wants everyone to know that health means more than the absence of disease. Mahaffey Harris stated, "Health is having access to all of the factors that contribute to a quality of life that is equitable for all, being in good housing, safe housing, having adequate transportation, having access to healthy foods and access to economic opportunities to support and build a life for your individual self." Ironically the health pandemic we are in has spotlighted the health disparities in our region. However Mahaffey Harris and her team see the pandemic as an opportunity for organizations to collaborate more and focus on the needs of families and advocate for policies that will address systemic and structural racism that is the root cause of the disparate outcomes in our region.

The Health Gap is working with many organizations to assist families through this pandemic including Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority. Prior to the start of the partnership, The Health Gap worked with the resident leadership group, J-RAB, to provide some essential needs for senior residents. Ms. Mahaffey Harris contacted CMHA CEO Gregory Johnson and asked about the most urgent needs of the families served by CMHA. The conversation led to a great collaboration that began with education. Residents received detailed information about COVID-19 and how to identify symptoms in their rent statements and it continued with automated call reminders. Both agencies wanted to let residents know they could get help, so The Health Gap created a special hotline just for CMHA residents. Families can call and get help since not everyone has access to a computer or the internet. The Health Gap answers questions, navigates websites for callers or provides them with connections to other resources. In addition many families needed items to keep themselves protected. The Health Gap provided CMHA with sanitizer, 10,000 masks and steps on how to properly wear the masks. United Way donated the masks and The Health Gap paid it forward to CMHA for resident use. If The Health Gap cannot meet the needs of CMHA families they work with other organizations that can. A reminder from Mahaffey Harris,  "When we all come together we can collectively meet the needs of our communities and it can only happen by us coming together. We are all in this together."       

CMHA staff prep resident envelopes with donated masks 

 SpotlightCHD Partner Spotlight: The Cincinnati Health Department
Dr. Melba Moore - City of Cincinnati Health Commissioner
If you didn't know who Dr. Melba Moore was before March 2020 you definitely know who she is now. As the Health Commissioner for the City of Cincinnati, Dr. Moore provides critical information during the COVID-19 press conferences along with Mayor Cranley and Police Chief Isaac. The Cincinnati Health Department (CHD) is responsible for protecting public health, preventing illness & disease and promoting health. The pandemic we are living through is something most of us have not experienced so communication from the CHD is very important at this time. The CHD closely monitors the hospitalization numbers as well as the ICU admissions in our area. Dr. Moore said,  "I'm looking at the number of cases and wondering who they are, their racial and ethnic origin. I need to know who they are so the right message is targeted towards them. When we know who is impacted, the appropriate message can be developed and delivered to change behaviors and ensure compliance."

The Cincinnati Health Department and CMHA have worked together for years and that partnership has grown closer during these unprecedented times. CEO Gregory Johnson reached out to Dr. Moore initially to see if the CHD could establish a testing center at one of the CMHA sites. The principles of public health are assessment, assurance and policy development so that conversation developed into two leaders collaborating on the best way to assess the needs of public housing residents. The first step was to survey the residents and the CHD provided guidance on how to develop the message and questions to CMHA residents. Reminders about precautionary measures were also provided to residents from the CHD along with the COVID-19 Command Center Hotline. Very few residents had symptoms however a testing center was still established on-site just for CMHA residents. Dr. Moore said,  "It is a great partnership. When Mr. Johnson and I talked we went through the core functions of public health. We assessed the community needs, assured them by connecting them to necessary services and testing. And he developed the policy that would improve safety for the families of CMHA."
The Vision is that Cincinnati Health Department will be a public health leader for building and maintaining a healthy and safe community. The CHD is focusing on four key areas that will make the vision a reality. They are infant mortality, mental behavioral health, access to care and access to nutritious food. According to the CHD, poverty is an underlying factor in poor health and connecting with people in the community through innovation will change the lens. The CHD encourages you to reach out to your neighbors, encourage them to seek health care. There are six primary health centers across the city that can help. The development of food co-ops and employment or entrepreneurial opportunities for young people will also improve health. What the pandemic has taught us according to Dr. Moore is many systems were not prepared for the surge and now we are more informed and we can do better when moving forward. She shares some inspirational thoughts, "Seek help, be hopeful, be helpful and stay calm. We will get through this. Education is powerful and information is too!"
 AgencyspotlightAgency Spotlight:  CMHA Conversion 
Peacefully located in the English Woods area, Sutter View is undergoing a major transformation with the construction team continuing to move forward. The site is home for 114 families; there are 24 fully renovated units and 30 currently undergoing rehabilitative construction work. Families have returned to new homes with fully updated kitchens, bathrooms, windows, flooring, plumbing, electrical and beautiful exteriors that include new porches on every unit.

 WorkingTogether Working Together
A casual conversation leads to a generous donation of handmade masks for CMHA staff use.  40 masks were made with love and in fun patterns. 

CMHA received requests from residents who needed assistance beyond the housing provided by the agency. The agency answered the call with the purchase of cleaning supplies and toiletries. CMHA staff and J-RAB members worked together to prepare the packages and deliver them to asset management residents.