COHHIO Advocacy Director Gina Wilt was one of several housing advocates who joined Sen. Rob Portman at a recent roundtable in Columbus to discuss the impact of evictions on struggling families and how his proposed Eviction Crisis Act could help keep people stably housed.

“Senator Portman was very interested in learning about ongoing challenges, as well as the opportunities to promote affordable housing. He took precise notes as he listened to feedback from housing experts on the anti-eviction legislation – what’s effective in the bill, where it could be improved, and how it advance our efforts to end homelessness in Ohio,” Wilt said.

Sen. Portman (R-Ohio) recently introduced the proposal with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) to offer emergency financial assistance to households facing eviction, help fund landlord-tenant community courts, increase the presence of social services representatives for tenants, encourage increased legal representation for tenants, add consumer protections on tenant screening reports, and improve data and analysis on the impact of evictions. (Bill summary)

“Today in America, an unexpected illness, a car accident, or a family emergency can lead to a family being evicted from their home and falling into a cycle of poverty that lasts for years. I had a productive discussion with many community leaders about how we can prevent what in many cases are evictions that should be avoidable,” said Portman. “I’ve long worked on efforts to address homelessness and increase the supply of housing and I’m proud of my bipartisan legislation to tackle this very issue. This legislation will help prevent avoidable evictions, reduce homelessness, and make it easier for people to escape poverty by keeping a roof over their heads.”

During the event, Wilt shared information about the costs of homelessness on families and on the whole state.  She highlighted the importance of bringing other agencies and sectors to this housing discussion, because children can’t thrive in school without stable housing, families can’t achieve good health outcomes without safe and stable housing, and our economy will not flourish without a place for our low-income employees to live.

COHHIO has endorsed the Eviction Crisis Act and is exploring the potential to advance some of Sen. Portman’s proposals at the state level.

“We don’t need to wait around for Congress to do the right thing for families caught in the cycle of low wages, high rents, eviction and homelessness,” Wilt said. “This bill contains a lot of good ideas that could be implemented by the General Assembly.”

COHHIO’s recent analysis of statewide eviction and foreclosure data shows barely any reduction in the number of eviction filings in Ohio since the Great Recession, as foreclosure filings have dropped significantly.

For more information on how you can support the Eviction Crisis Act, contact Gina Wilt.