City and County Distribute Additional $20 Million for Rent and Utility Assistance
The City of Columbus and Franklin
County have authorized distribution of another $20 million in federal Emergency
Rental Assistance Funding. This funding supports renters who have experienced a
loss of income from the COVID-19 pandemic and are at risk of losing housing.
Since the pandemic began, the city has provided more than $40 million in
federal funding to residents for rent and utility assistance.
“In Ohio, employment is back to
97.7% of where it was in February 2020, but for some in our city, the economic
effects of the pandemic are just as present today as they were two years ago.
Many of our neighbors still wonder if they can make this month’s rent, or are
choosing between food and utilities. This additional funding is our way of
calming those worries,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “Through partnerships
with our local nonprofits, we have put an extraordinary amount of funding in
the hands of our residents.”
The State of Ohio recently
reallocated its surplus ERA funds to seven cities and counties. Among those
local entities, the City of Columbus and Franklin County were each awarded $10
million. In late August, while Columbus City Council was on recess, Mayor
Ginther authorized $500,000 of the $10 million to be granted to IMPACT
Community Action through an executive order. Action by City Council distributes
the remaining $9.5 million to the organization, which specializes in rent and
utility assistance, among other series.
“The pandemic helped expose a variety of areas that require
immediate support and attention in our community,” said President Erica C.
Crawley. “Many families are just one missed paycheck, health crisis, or
car repair away from not being able to pay their rent. It is incumbent on us
not only to support them in what continues to be a difficult time for many but
also to continue to work on our systems so that these families can get back on
track for the long term.”
IMPACT Community Action recently
reopened rent and utility assistance applications after closing applications in
July, as existing funding was spent down. The new funding will also enable
IMPACT team members to return to eviction courts across the region to offer
on-site assistance. Often, these funds are available to cover a year of rent
and utility assistance and can simultaneously be used to catch up on past-due
rent. These funds are available to pay reasonable late fees, moving expenses,
security deposits and home interest costs. The City of Columbus has also
awarded more than $20 million of its ERA Funding to 26 community organizations
that pursue the equitable distribution of rental assistance.
Prior to this funding, the county
commissioners have provided more than $8.2 million in emergency rental
assistance to Franklin County residents through IMPACT Community Action.
This additional $10 million will more than double the number of residents that
can be assisted. Households that have been financially hurt by the pandemic and
which are at or below 80% of the area median income will be eligible, and the
average amount of assistance per household will be about $3,500.
For more information on rental
assistance and the resources available throughout the city and county https://www.impactca.org/