Nearly 60,000 Ohioans experienced homelessness in 2016. Almost one-third of them were children. Nearly 10,000 were victims of domestic abuse. The data source is understood to be an undercount and these numbers don’t even include Ohio’s third and eighth largest counties.
We now have these grim figures thanks to a new report from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency that reveals a more comprehensive view of the severity of homelessness in our state.
Now that we have a better handle on the scope of the problem, the question is: will our political leaders finally prioritize doing something about it? Or have we just become complacent about the fact that tens of thousands of our neighbors struggle with homelessness year in and year out?
The fact is, we know how to solve this problem. Local agencies throughout the state have adopted effective strategies that have successfully reduced homelessness. And when these efforts are adequately funded, we can functionally eliminate homelessness in Ohio.
Unfortunately, our elected officials have spent many years giving away tax breaks to people who don’t need them, instead of investing public funds into ending homelessness and housing insecurity. And so Ohio’s “silent crisis” continues to fester.
Now that the primary election is behind us and we’ve fully entered the political season, it’s time for politicians to start paying attention to serious problems such as homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in our state. We need leaders who will stand up for people who are struggling with next to nothing.
One way we can push for improved public policy toward low-income people is for low-income people to engage more actively in the elections process. To that end, COHHIO is ramping up our Ohio Votes program to encourage more low-income Ohioans to get registered and vote in November.
You can read more about Ohio Votes below, along with our take on Issue 1 – the amendment to reform gerrymandering – and updates on federal housing advocacy efforts, our conference, and the other work we’ve been doing here at COHHIO in recent months.
Keep the faith,