The “healthy homes greensboro” collaborative set a goal of reducing the number of unsafe housing units in Greensboro by 50% by December 2008. Substandard




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The “healthy homes greensboro” collaborative set a goal of reducing the number of unsafe housing units in Greensboro by 50% by December 2008. Substandard housing not only contributes to public safety concerns and discourages investment in surrounding areas, but it also creates substantial public costs for medical care and related educational expenses for the wide variety of injuries and illnesses directly attributable to housing conditions—$95 million in NC in 2006 for children’s care alone (www.greensborohousingcoalition.com for the full study of pediatric costs). The collaboration has been effective in:

  • Getting the message out: bus tours, videos about city programs on Channel 13; information to landlords and tenants about resources, rights, and responsibilities; outreach to homeowners and immigrants in Spanish and many other languages

  • Organizing stakeholders: Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, FaithAction International House, City of Greensboro, Guilford County Health Dept, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Moses Cone Hospital respiratory therapists, Housing Greensboro, NC A&T Center for Energy Research & Technology, UNCG Sociology Dept, Westover Church, Elon Law School, E. Market St Development, many landlords, and Greensboro Housing Coalition are working on healthy homes in many different ways.

  • Increasing resources: Urgent Repair Program state grant, fair housing grant, repair programs for homeowners, unprecedented third federal lead safe housing grant, tax credit developments

  • Changing legal systems: systematic notice of “repair or demolish” orders, RUCO!

The outcomes of “healthy homes greensboro”? The number of unsafe housing units is coming down!




Who has repaired the most housing units?

ARCO Realty has renovated many of the Agapion family properties, bringing 32 up to code in one year.

With RUCO and “repair or demolish”, Greensboro inspectors have gotten 7500 units repaired in 3 years.

Greensboro’s Lead Safe Housing program has removed lead hazards from 425 houses/apartments in 6 years.

With volunteer labor, Housing Greensboro has repaired 50 homes for low income homeowners in 3 years.


Who owns the most housing units still in unsafe condition?

ARCO Realty has 31 Agapion family properties with code violations; most are in the repair process.

K Partnership/Phillips Management has 14 units at Colonial Apartments with code violation cases.

Pine Meadows, in Wisconsin, has 12 units at Brookfield Court Apartments with code violation cases.

Bulent Bediz and family members own 11 houses in Glenwood with long-term code violation cases.

Mikhail Poplavsky owns apartments on Dana Place, with 11 code violation cases.


Because many property owners have either repaired or sold substandard rental properties, no other entity owns more than 8 units with code violation cases.


Greensboro Housing Coalition

Greensboro Housing Coalition, the advocate for safe and affordable housing, responds to at least 500 calls each year asking for help in correcting unsafe housing conditions. Our certified lead risk assessor visits residents to assess problems; she connects homeowners with resources for home repairs and informs tenants about rights and responsibilities for home maintenance. The Housing Hotline guides tenants in effective ways to request repairs: first, putting the request in writing, then calling city code enforcement if the landlord does not respond, and, as last resort, seeking legal counsel. The Z Smith Reynolds Foundation provided a grant to analyze racial disparities in substandard housing as housing counselors help minorities and immigrants to get their landlords to make repairs. Through letters and free information dinners, we reach out to landlords to inform of resources for filling vacancies, working with tenants, and learning about lead safety requirements. By initiating and facilitating the comprehensive “healthy homes greensboro” collaborative and doing quarterly analysis of the unduplicated number of unsafe housing units to track our performance, GHC has built the partnerships—and the political will—that have made Greensboro a leader in the state and nation in working towards healthy homes.


Lead Safe Housing

The City of Greensboro is completing its second three-year Lead Safe Housing grant, earning a rating of 100% from HUD and a third $3,000,000 grant to prevent lead poisoning. The city accepts applications from homeowners and rental property owners for free lead risk assessments and removal of lead risks, all by certified contractors. Since 2002, the city has made 425 homes lead safe to protect low income homeowners and tenants from the risk of lead poisoning. The city’s community partners do outreach and education to neighborhoods, immigrant families, health care providers, contractors, landlords, tenants, homeowners, and the general public to prevent lead poisoning. Although lead paint was banned for residential use, many homes built before 1978 have lead paint under the layers of other paints used since then. When the lead paint breaks down—such as it when peels, is worn down by windows opening and closing, or is scraped off in the repair process—it gets in the dust and then in the mouths of children, causing learning and behavior problems. Because so little lead can cause such irreversible damage, it is essential that everyone—property owners, residents, and contractors—become aware of the risks and remove the lead hazards in a safe manner. Greensboro’s excellent Lead Safe Housing program has raised community awareness and been so popular that a long waiting list is in place in anticipation of the new HUD grant.


Housing Greensboro

Housing Greensboro has expanded in the past year to restore homes to safe condition through repairs for very low income homeowners and rehabilitation of vacant homes for sale to homebuyers. Skilled construction managers offer volunteers the opportunity to do mission in our own community, replacing leaking roofs and rotten floors and removing other hazards. Read more in the attached information!


Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy “RUCO” (City of Greensboro inspections)

RUCO is turning around substandard housing, reducing the number of rental units with active code violations. The RUCO ordinance, approved by Greensboro City Council in May 2003, began implementation in January 2004. In five years, by January 2009, in order to be rented, all rental units must have Rental Certificates or be included in apartment sampling letters. Certificates are free and last for five years; they are renewed for another five years after units pass inspection or apartment sampling. They can be revoked if the property falls below minimum housing safety standards and is not brought back into compliance within 45 days; to get a revoked RUCO back carries a $250 penalty after the units is brought back into compliance. Landlords can request inspection of houses and apartments with tenant permission (if occupied), or tenants can request inspection if they are concerned about possible housing code violations, or inspectors can request tenant permission to inspect.


Maintenance of rental units falls into three categories:

  1. Needs pressure to bring up to minimum standards; finally responds to notices of violations. To date, 14% of rental units were awarded RUCO in more than 30 days (the longest took 1242).

  2. Needs prompting to bring up to minimum standards; quickly responds to violations. To date, 28% of rental units were repaired and awarded RUCO within 30 days after initial inspection.

  3. Well-maintained; these units are kept in good condition or were rehabilitated before RUCO inspection. To date, 58% of rental units were awarded certificates on first RUCO inspection.


At least 7500 units with code violations have been brought up to standard since RUCO began implementation; one third of these have eluded code enforcement in the past but inspections have also uncovered violations not previously recognized or reported. The small number of rental property owners with a history of non-compliance are rehabilitating substandard housing, either in response to RUCO inspections or before they call for RUCO inspections, citing support for RUCO as the reason for the repairs. Other property owners are selling substandard rental housing and the new owners are rehabilitating the units and getting RUCO’s before renting them; in the past, new owners would occasionally rent out condemned apartments and houses without repairing them.


When RUCO began implementation and owners were not accustomed to proactive inspections, most needed pressure to comply; after the first year, many more units were up to standard before the initial inspection. If this trend continues, as the deadline approaches RUCO inspections should find the majority of the remaining units up to standard, due to market-based maintenance or RUCO’s pressure. After January 2009, the penalties for revocation should be incentives to keep housing maintained.


In the recent legislative session, the North Carolina Senate considered Senate Bill 1507, “An act requiring cities and counties to have probable cause before inspecting residential and nonresidential structures and requiring owners and landlords to improve the habitability of dwelling units by repairing certain unsafe conditions.” Because the Senate sent the bill to the House but the House did not act on it in this session, it can be considered in 2008. The bill lists 12 dangerous conditions that must be corrected and says that inspection departments may only make periodic inspections when there is probable cause, defined as an owner with a history of more than one verified code violation in a year, a complaint, or inspectors having knowledge of violations. Although the bill as introduced would impact RUCO, amendments are being discussed to allow RUCO to continue.


RUCO’s impact on substandard housing conditions in Greensboro demonstrates the outcomes achievable through periodic inspections. A substantial number of housing units have been repaired without permanent expansion of inspection staff, by using efficient technology and building extensive community partnerships. RUCO is an essential foundation for Greensboro’s progress in making housing safe.


Bus route—east

From city hall, turn left on Washington, turn right on Elm, turn left on Martin Luther King. Members of the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association will meet us at the corner of MLK and Julian to talk about the problems they have with 705 and 709 MLK, 510 and 512 Julian. Turn left on Julian, turn left on Pearson, stop at 608 Douglas and hear about the problems neighbors have with this vacant house.


Continue on Pearson, turn right on Lee, pass Lee’s Curb Market and hear about the problems neighbors have with crime.


Continue on Lee, turn right on Sevier, stop at 910 Sevier to see the work of the City of Greensboro’s Lead Safe Housing program.


Turn left on Julian, turn left on Bennett St, turn right on Gorrell, turn left on Law St, stop at 405 Law to see the extensive rehabilitation work by the Agapion family. Continue on Law St, turn right on McConnell Rd, turn left on Dunbar,

Turn right on Everitt, pass Willow Oaks, the new development mixed income apartments and single family homes on the site of former Morningside Homes.


Continue on Everitt, turn left on English, see Avalon Trace apartments owned by Shannon Enterprises of the Southeast; 22 have been recently renovated.


Continue on English, stop at 206 S. English, apartments that Kenny Roundtree purchased and renovated.


Turn right on Market, turn right on Holts Chapel Rd, turn right on W. Camel St, see 314 W. Camel, boarded apartments owned by Robert Fowler. Return to E. Market, turn left on Market, turn right on Huffman (the exit to Highway 29) and look to the left at Marshall St where two houses featured on the 2006 bus tour have been demolished.


Take Highway 29 to E. Cone Blvd, turn right on Cone, left on 16th St, right on McKnight Mill, left on Windhill Court. Stop at Windhill Court Apartments to see the beautiful new mixed income rental development by Affordable Housing Management.


Return to 16th, turn right on Cone, turn left on Summit Ave. See the apartments at Summit & Cone owned by the Agapion family which are in the process of being repaired.


Continue on Summit, turn left on Phillips Ave, turn right on Autumn Drive, see 1500 Autumn where Michael Greco and Rico Garcia have purchased and rehabilitated apartments.


Turn left on Textile St, turn left on English, turn right on Phillips, turn left on Valleyview. Stop at 1101 Valleyview, where Housing Greensboro (in partnership with Westover Church and NC A&T) has renovated the home of a low-income homeowner. Turn right on Peterson, turn left on Elwell, turn right on Wendover, turn left on Lindsay, turn left on Greene, return to City Hall.


Bus route—west


From city hall, turn left on Washington, turn right on Elm, turn left on Martin Luther King. Members of the Ole Asheboro Neighborhood Association will meet us at the corner of MLK and Julian to talk about the problems they have with 705 and 709 MLK, 510 and 512 Julian. Turn left on Julian, turn left on Pearson, stop at 608 Douglas and hear about the problems neighbors have with this vacant house.


Continue on Pearson, turn right on Lee, pass Lee’s Curb Market and hear about the problems neighbors have with crime.


Continue on Lee, turn right on Sevier, stop at 910 Sevier to see the work of the City of Greensboro’s Lead Safe Housing program. Turn right on Julian, left on MLK, right on Whittington, cross Eugene St. See newly renovated public housing at Hampton Homes on the left, St. James Homes on the right.


Continue on Whittington, which becomes Haywood. Turn right on Lexington, see 816, 814, 810 Lexington Ave, owned by Bulent Bediz, which have been left gutted for many years.


Turn left on Lee St which becomes High Point Rd, turn right on Romaine St, stop at 4300 Romaine, a home repaired by Housing Greensboro. Turn left at Poinsettia to hear about Housing Greensboro repairs on 2211 Poinsettia. Turn right on Alma, right on Fairfax, left on Chateau, left on Jane, right on Vantage Point, left on Merritt.


Turn left on Hewitt St, turn left on Boston, see 1006 Boston, a house owned by the Agapions which was recently renovated. Return to Hewitt, turn right on Norwalk, turn left on W. Market.


From W. Market, turn left on Hiltin. Tenants in the Brookfield Court Apartments invite us to see the hazardous conditions in their apartments.


Turn left on Market. Pass Montrose, where the Colonial Apartments have code violation cases. Continue on Market to downtown Greensboro, turn right on Greene to return to City Hall.

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