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Columbus, OH 43215


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Council and Community Organizations Launch Eviction Prevention Program

Community partnership will fight to keep families in homes across Columbus

Impact announcement

Ben Horne, managing attorney of the housing team at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus; Latisha Chastang, director of emergency services for Impact Community Action, joined Councilmember Shayla Favor to announce the creation of the Eviction Prevention Program.

[Columbus, OH] The need for affordable housing in Central Ohio is reaching a tipping point. Families are trying to manage rising housing and rental prices. In Columbus, evictions are one of the leading causes of housing instability. On October 8, 2019, Councilmember Shayla Favor, Impact Community Action, and Legal Aid Society presented a solution to keep families in their homes - the Eviction Prevention Program (EPP).

“We’ve heard the stories. We know the statistics and impact on the community,” said Councilmember Favor. “Most of the people we encounter have suffered a sudden financial hardship that leads to being evicted. We are stepping in with the pilot program to provide help.” 

The EPP is a $300,000 fund that provides emergency financial and legal support for residents. It consists of two distinct components. Impact Community Action Emergency Assistance Department will provide rental or mortgage help. The Legal Aid Society of Columbus will provide access to a Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) attorney to advocate on behalf of residents. 

“We have examined the data and talked to residents. Now is the time to apply that knowledge and create some solutions for families,” Favor continued. 

Helping Families Cope with Sudden Financial Loss

Impact Community Action is a non-profit focused on reducing poverty in Franklin County. The Emergency Assistance Department provides intervention strategies to stabilize households and strengthen self-sufficiency.

“The cost to keep a family in their home is a fraction of the exorbitant cost to shelter and rehouse a family once they have been evicted,” said Impact Community Action Executive Director Robert Chilton. “Families often lose possessions that are hard to replace and once they receive an eviction on their record, it is next to impossible to find safe and stable housing. Eviction prevention is a critically important component to addressing our housing crisis.”

In 2016, Impact Community Action helped 539 households with transportation, furniture rental and water utility assistance.

Helping Residents Understand the Law of Housing

Legal Aid Society Columbus will provide legal assistance to residents facing eviction. Each day, an average of 75 tenant families receives eviction paperwork from Franklin County Municipal Court. About half of those go to their eviction hearings. 

“They are predominantly women with children," said Ben Horne from The Legal Aid Society of Columbus. "Typically, they are being evicted for owing a month or less of rent."

Evictions have long-lasting ramifications on tenants impacting their rental history and credit rating. This action contributes to homelessness and housing instability. Access to a TAP attorney can keep families in their homes and out of the homeless shelter system. 

"The goal with every case is to try to keep the family in its home. If that is not possible, we want to give the tenants more time to secure new housing," Favor continued. "Let's connect them with resources for a successful move, and have the case resolved without a credit-damaging eviction judgment or a costly set-out."

Access to an attorney has proven positive results for tenants. Less than one percent of tenants who work with TAP leave court with an eviction judgment.

"Strong neighborhoods start with safe places to live," said Favor. “We are working to stabilize the future of Columbus through this program.”