Women, especially African-American women with children, are disproportionately affected by the high eviction rate in Franklin County — one of the highest rates in the state. Nearly 18,000 eviction cases are filed in Franklin County Municipal Court each year.
The Columbus Women’s Commission has studied the eviction data and listened to women’s stories in a focused effort to provide needed resources and prevent eviction when possible. The Commission understands having an eviction record often creates ripple effects, making it difficult to secure housing in the future. To gain deeper knowledge of the process, Commissioners frequently visit Eviction Court in Franklin County Municipal Court and speak with women about their experiences.
The city of Columbus received $157 million in federal funds from the CARES Act to provide assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. $51 million has been allotted to human services with a focus on supporting residents facing eviction and homelessness.
The Franklin County Municipal Court relocated the Self-Help Resource Center to be in closer proximity to the eviction courtroom to provide immediate access to helpful resources for those facing eviction. After the relocation the Center served more families in the last quarter of 2018 than in 2016-17 combined.
Columbus City Council approved a new Eviction Prevention Program in 2019 to assist tenants facing eviction. The $300,000 fund is utilized by IMPACT Community Action and the Legal Aid Society of Columbus to provide emergency financial assistance and legal representation to tenants facing evictions. This fund is targeted to keep at least 100 Columbus tenants in their homes each year.
Franklin County Clerk of Courts removed all eviction records older than three years from their website. Additionally, the Court is now allowing individuals to submit applications to request a removal of more recent eviction records from the website. The Commission is also proud to have co-hosted nine Stabilizing Families Learning Exchanges with the Prevent Family Homelessness Collaborative.
In 2019, the Commission and various partners worked with the Court to explore and recommend eviction related policies and processes to help families in Columbus. Five of the policies were passed and progress continues in each of the recommended areas.
We look forward to continuing our work in this space, striving to prevent future evictions and encourage the creation of more affordable and equitable housing for women and families in the Columbus area.
Thank you to our partners in this work: