For Immediate Release
Census Bureau: 500,000 Ohioans Couldn’t Pay Last Month’s Rent
Lowest Wage Workers Hardest Hit by Layoffs
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated this week that 503,500 Ohio tenants impacted by the coronavirus pandemic were unable to pay rent last month as local courts throughout the state have resumed eviction proceedings.
With the extra $600/week unemployment benefits scheduled to expire at the end of July, the number of renters at risk of being evicted during the public health crisis will escalate later this summer. In its latest Household Pulse Survey, the Census Bureau estimates 660,000 Ohioans are uncertain they will be able to pay next month’s rent.
Meanwhile, the state still has approximately $2.13 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding available to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ohioans.
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio Executive Director Bill Faith called on Gov. Mike DeWine to invest a modest portion of the state’s remaining coronavirus relief funding in emergency rental assistance for people facing eviction.
“Ohioans who lost jobs or income due to state action to contain the virus clearly deserve help as they struggle to make ends meet. Many have not received unemployment benefits and many have been able to return to work,” Faith said.
“While politicians in Washington squabble over whether to do anything to help the millions of Americans who lost their jobs during this virus-induced recession, Gov. DeWine can take action right now to stop a wave of evictions that is coming. No one who lost their job due to COVID-19 should also have to lose their home while the state is sitting on billions of dollars that could be used to help them pay the rent,” he said.
A recent survey by the polling firm Gallup illustrates that layoffs during the pandemic have fallen especially hard on low-wage workers who were already struggling to remain stably housed. Gallup found that 37 percent of workers in low-income households – defined as those making less than $36,000 per year – have been laid off while another 58 percent experienced a loss of income as a result of the coronavirus.
Several of Ohio’s larger cities and counties have already invested their local coronavirus relief funds in emergency rental assistance, but high demand will quickly outstrip available funding without additional support from the state. For example, more than 860 tenants initiated applications for rental assistance on the first day Cuyahoga County launched its program.
Last month COHHIO and 181 other Ohio-based groups sent Gov. DeWine a letter urging him to invest at least $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for emergency rental assistance. This common-sense proposal was endorsed by a diverse coalition of businesses, healthcare, and human services organizations, including: the Ohio Bankers League; Ohio REALTORS; Huntington Bank; Cleveland Clinic; Mount Carmel Health System; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Ohio Mayors Alliance; Ohio Credit Union League; Ohio Real Estate Investors Association; First Financial Bank; and Ohio Catholic Conference.
“Tenants’ financial hardship isn’t just a problem for them and their families. When so many people are unable to pay their rent, it could destabilize the entire housing market. And you only have to go back a decade in history to see what effect that has on the broader economy,” Faith said. “Doing nothing is not an option when you can see disaster on the horizon. We need emergency rental assistance now.”
Advocacy, Business, Healthcare Groups Urge DeWine to Support Unemployed Tenants Facing Eviction
For Immediate Release
June 17, 2020
With Ohio facing a spike in evictions in coming months, a coalition of housing advocates, businesses, healthcare, and faith-based organizations asked Gov. Mike DeWine today to invest $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for emergency rental assistance.
182 groups representing Ohio businesses, health and human services organizations signed the letter urging Gov. DeWine to take immediate action to prevent a spike in evictions and homelessness among an estimated 730,000 renter households who experienced job loss in recent months.
The coalition, including landlords, housing advocates, hospitals, banks, religious organizations, and local government officials, demonstrates a broad consensus for government action to ensure that workers who have been laid as a result of Ohio’s stay-at-home order must not lose their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nearly 1.3 million Ohioans have filed jobless claims in the past 11 weeks. Layoffs are disproportionately impacting lower income workers who rent their homes. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that more than 1.25 million Ohio renters have experienced income loss, including layoffs, pay cuts and furloughs. Local courts have resumed eviction hearings, and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (additional $600 per week) is set to expire next month,” the letter states.
“The facts are clear: without immediate and decisive action, Ohio faces a tsunami of evictions. We must not exacerbate this public health crisis with a flood of Ohioans entering our local homeless shelters.” (Download the full letter here)
The federal CARES Act provided Ohio billions of dollars in coronavirus relief funds that could be used to assist unemployed renters who can’t pay rent. In addition to $100 billion from the coronavirus relief fund, the coalition calls on the DeWine Administration to invest $37 million from Ohio’s remaining supplemental Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CARES Act) on emergency rental assistance.
Emergency rental assistance is critical for stabilizing both Ohio’s tenants and landlords, who rely on rent payments to pay their employees, mortgages, taxes, and property maintenance costs. Expanded unemployment benefits are set to expire next month, leaving tenants unable to pay the rent, putting the entire housing market at risk.
Organizations signing the letter include: the Ohio Bankers League; Ohio REALTORS; Huntington Bank; Cleveland Clinic; Mount Carmel Health System; Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Ohio Mayors Alliance; Ohio Credit Union League; Ohio Real Estate Investors Association; First Financial Bank; Ohio Catholic Conference; Ohio Housing Council; Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging; Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies; Park National Bank; RiverHills Bank; Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing; Ohio Manufactured Homes Association; Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio; Ohio Domestic Violence Network; Habitat for Humanity of Ohio; National Church Residences; Wallick Communities; and Dominium Apartments.
The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, which organized the joint letter, is also calling on Congress to include a $100 billion emergency rental assistance program in the next coronavirus relief package.