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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) – Protesters took to the streets of Cincinnati Saturday in support of the Anna Louise Inn.
The owners of the historic facility, Cincinnati Union Bethel, are in a fight with Western and Southern Financial Group which wants to take over the property.
Last month a Hamilton county judge ruled that the city’s zoning board of appeals erred in its decision to OK a zoning permit and ordered the matter be sent back to the city for administrative review.
Mother Paula Jackson, pastor of the Church of Our Savior is one of a growing number of community activists who are getting involved in the struggle for the Anna Louise Inn’s survival. She says she’s happy to see more and more people who will stand up for justice.
“Them ladies over there are working to improve themselves, but Western and Southern is taking dollar signs and going like this over the government’s head,” said Deanna Smith with SEIU labor union.
Josh Spring with the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition says Western and Southern is motivated by greed. “Despite the fact that they have billions of dollars they want to take more money from your pockets and my pockets and our neighbors’ pockets. They want to force women out of their homes so that they can put sky rise condos here they want more money. They want to take from us and they don’t want to give back and it’s not ok. We call it thievery, we call it lying, we call it stealing we call it wrong,” said Spring.
Spring says Western and Southern’s efforts to take over the property amounts to intimidation. “Western and Southern is a big bully. They are pushing around, they are attempting to push around the women of the Anna Louise Inn,” said Spring.
Women are provided with long term housing and some of them are leaving a life of prostitution.
Westerns and Southern argues the Anna Louise Inn is a homeless shelter and doesn’t conform with zoning laws, but Spring says the Anna Louise Inn provides a necessary service. “We believe that we need affordable housing and we need good living wage sustainable employment, that’s how we prevent homelessness. We want to see less people experiencing the hardship of homelessness. We need to push back on Western and Southern and say no way.”
In the meantime plans for a $13 million renovation of the Anna Louise Inn are on hold.