How Lakewood's Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinance Undermines Housing Stability and Endangers Households in Crisis
2 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2018
Date Written: March 30, 2018
Since 2005, Lakewood, Ohio, has used a Criminal Activity Nuisance Ordinance (CANO) to penalize property owners for multiple emergency services visits to their properties. Lakewood continues to enforce its CANO despite 7 nearby cities amending similar laws to protect survivors of domestic violence. To better understand the implications of CANOs, we took a close look at their enforcement in multiple cities, including Lakewood. Using the 75 nuisance designations Lakewood issued from February 2014 to May 2016, we found several disturbing enforcement patterns. 1 of 3 nuisance letters are sent to survivors of domestic violence. African American households much more likely to receive a nuisance letter. Having a disability or mental health crisis is a common path to eviction. Tenants lack notice or chance to be heard. We urge Lakewood to reconsider its CANO in light of these findings.
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