CINCINNATI, Ohio —Thousands of lights, dozens of giant murals, 30 city blocks full, and one million people —all expected at Cincinnati’s biggest light and arts festival —BLINK. 

  • A group of residents came together to bring attention to a homelessness, a growing problem in their neighborhood
  • Their animated art will be on display at 13th and Vine streets in Cincinnati
  • This is the first time the group will be a part of the BLINK festival, which starts Thursday night

But among big lights, a small group of neighbors want you to see something deeper. 

“This right here have a message to it, and we see it every day first hand,” said Tony Drummond, resident.

Tony Drummond says homelessness and not enough affordable housing is a problem plaguing the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. 

Kay Beck says they know why. 

“Because a lot of the services are leaving and a lot of the rent being so high, people can’t afford it, a lot of people are being forced to move out,” said Beck, resident.

And in Dionna Flowers’ case, she says she was one of them.

“I experienced homelessness for years, I experienced homelessness, I experienced so many different levels of homelessness, it didn’t just start as an adult, for me experiencing homelessness started as a child,” said Flowers, resident.

It’s what these neighbors say tore the neighborhood apart. 

“We live in the same neighborhood, and we don’t even know each other, cause this neighborhood went from a neighborhood to a business district,” said Drummond.

But at the same time, it brought these three, once strangers, together. 

“Makes me feel like I have a purpose and not just another body existing, makes me feel like I’m a part of something,” said Flowers.

The three, a part of a group of nine neighbors who came up with ideas to showcase during ‘Blink.’

They put it on the side of a low-income housing building, artwork in its windows, and signs that speak to the housing problems here.

“Often times people come to our neighborhood, and they think of it as an amusement park but I like to show that residents live here,” said Beck.

“Some people just need an opportunity to get in position to stand on their own,” said Flowers.

“If we out here doing this maybe somebody will come by and see what’s goin’ on with the homeless,” said Drummond.

And with the help of neighbors, advocates and students, that message is coming to life in a new way during the big light show.