In January 2021, a Federal Reserve Bank study estimated that 640,000 Ohio households were threatened with eviction or didn’t know how they would pay the next month’s rent. Some of these households have taken advantage of the eviction moratorium announced by the Federal government last year, which was recently extended by President Biden. Other families remain subject to eviction proceedings.
Even with the moratorium, the rent and utility bills still have to be paid. The community action network and its partners are in the thick of this effort.
The initial funding for rent relief came from Community Service Block Grant (CSBG) funding. The program began on November 2, 2020, and has been extended through March 31, 2021. The funding is for rent and mortgage assistance, and also can be used for utilities – gas, electric, and water & sewage. About 80% has been spent.
In November, the State allocated another $55.8 million in supplemental funding for assistance, and primarily focuses on mortgage assistance. The money came from supplemental funding provided to the CDBG program under the first COVID-19 legislation. It is also being distributed by the community action network and local partners.
The new COVID relief bill provided Ohio with $775 million. An initial $100 million has been allocated to the community action network for distribution. Under the law, the funds can be used to pay up to 12 months of back rent and utility bills. Guidance from the Treasury Department regarding administrative funds has been a problem and fails to follow the law. OACAA is working with the Ohio Congressional delegation to correct Treasury’s error.