11/29/2023 - In the News
A Letter from Judge W. Moná Scott:
As the year draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the challenges and triumphs we have experienced together in the realm of housing justice. Serving as the judge in the Cleveland Housing Court is both a privilege and a responsibility—one that I approach with a deep sense of commitment to our community and housing. The Court’s virtual hearings and mediation program continue to thrive in the post-pandemic era.
The Cleveland Housing Court has remained steadfast in its dedication to upholding the principles of access, innovativeness, fairness, justice, and the right to dignified housing for all in Cleveland and Bratenahl.
One of our key achievements this year has been the continued focus on fostering dialogue and collaboration among residents, landlords, public officials, and community organizations. The importance of open communication and education cannot be overstated, and I am heartened by the efforts of those who have partnered with us to find constructive solutions to housing issues for renters and investors. We've achieved this through our landlord workshops, tenant clinics, and housing resource fairs held throughout the Cleveland communities. We will continue these efforts to plan more educational and resourceful outreaches in 2024.
Cleveland Housing Court continues to hold a majority of its hearings virtually. The unveiling of the Neighborhood Housing Court Kiosks marks an exciting collaboration between the Cleveland Housing Court and the Cleveland Public Library. These kiosks continue to play a pivotal role in bridging the digital divide and granting access to all of the Court’s hearings. Attorneys as well as individuals have used the Court’s community kiosks. They offer convenient public access to hearings, particularly those related to evictions and housing code violations while addressing challenges related to transportation and work commitments. The kiosks, supported by a grant from the Ohio Supreme Court, are located at the South Branch, Mount Pleasant Branch, Hough Branch, and Carnegie West Branch.
In addition, I want to emphasize the crucial issue of lead safety within our community. The detrimental effects of lead exposure, especially on our children, are well-documented. As stewards of housing justice, we must prioritize the safety of our residents through Cleveland City Council’s Lead Safe Ordinance. Cleveland Housing Court remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding the City’s lead safety ordinances by working closely with landlords and tenants to educate and ensure that all Cleveland rental properties are free from lead hazards. We encourage property owners to proactively address lead compliances and concerns, and we are dedicated to assisting in holding those accountable who neglect the in assuring their rental property adheres to the lead-safe ordinances. By collectively prioritizing lead safety, we contribute to the well-being of our community's most vulnerable members and pave the way for healthier, safer homes for all. Let us join together in creating a Cleveland where every home is a haven, free from the threat of lead exposure.
Looking ahead, I am optimistic about the coming year for Cleveland Housing Court. Our collective strength lies in our shared commitment to creating a community where every individual who relies on rulings has access to the Court so that their voices can be heard ensuring safe, healthy, and affordable housing. Cleveland Housing Court will continue to be a partner in this journey, striving for justice, fairness, and equity in every case that comes before us.
As we bid farewell to 2023, let us carry forward the lessons we have learned and the connections we have forged. May the coming year bring renewed hope, resilience, and progress for our beloved Cleveland.
Judge W. Moná Scott
Administrative Judge, Cleveland Housing Court
Cleveland Housing Court's Virtual Kiosks at Cleveland Public Libraries enhance access to justice
In a remarkable partnership that underscores the power of technology and community collaboration, Cleveland Housing Court Judge W. Moná Scott, with Cleveland Public Library Director Felton Thomas Jr., took a significant step toward making justice more accessible.
The Fourth Cleveland Housing Court Neighborhood Zoom Kiosk at the Carnegie West Branch Library opened in July. This innovation marks a decisive shift toward greater accessibility in the justice system, with additional Zoom Kiosk locations at Hough Campus, Mt. Pleasant, and South Campus Cleveland Public Libraries.
The Cleveland Housing Court Neighborhood Zoom Kiosks promised a seamless legal process, enabling residents to engage in court proceedings without the hassle of traditional courtroom appearances. This shift doesn't just make justice accessible; it also contributes to considerable time and cost savings.
Legal matters that previously demanded significant travel time and expenses can now be efficiently addressed through these virtual avenues. The collaboration between the Cleveland Housing Court and the Cleveland Public Library is about more than just immediate benefits. It signifies a pivotal step toward embracing technology and innovation within the legal sphere. By integrating virtual platforms like the Zoom Kiosks into the judicial process, Cleveland Housing Court is staying ahead of the curve, ensuring its legal system remains adaptable and responsive to the changing times.
Empowering Landlords: Cleveland Housing Court's Annual Landlord Workshops
On July 29, Cleveland Housing Court Judge W. Moná Scott presented the annual Cleveland Housing Court Landlord Workshop "What Every Landlord Should Know" at the Harvard Community Services Center. Attendees interacted with Judge Scott, magistrates, Code Enforcement prosecutors, inspectors from the city's Department of Building & Housing, Fair Housing, Cuyahoga County Treasure Dept., Lead Safe Cleveland Coalition, CHN, and CMHA. The workshop demonstrated a commitment to transparency and open dialogue, fostering an environment conducive to learning and informed decision-making. Judge W. Moná Scott's dedication to education and community engagement was evident throughout the workshop. This event built bridges and paved the way for smoother landlord-tenant relationships and improved property management practices.