The Ohio Senate passed its budget last week with an amendment that would generate about $1.5 million in additional revenue for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. This amounts to an increase of about 3.5 percent in state support for local homeless and affordable housing services.
We are thankful to Senate leaders for recognizing the need for additional resources to address rising homelessness and Ohio’s growing affordable housing shortage. This amendment is a small step in the right direction and we are hopeful that the budget conference committee process will result in a more significant increase for the Housing Trust Fund.
But we need your help to make that happen! Please take a moment to call your state legislators by 5 p.m. on Tuesday and ask them to support a more robust fee adjustment that would generate an estimated $6 million per year for the Trust Fund.
Your call is especially important if you already have a relationship with your your state rep or senator, or if they are a member of the budget conference committee: Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls); Sen. Dave Burke (R-Marysville); Sen. Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta); Rep. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton); Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood); and Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). Click here to find your legislators.
Here’s what you can tell your legislator or their aide:
- The Senate’s budget takes a small but positive step in the right direction to expand the Ohio Housing Trust Fund;
- However, the Housing Trust Fund fee has not increased in 16 years and revenue has dropped by 40 percent;
- Homelessness in Ohio increased 20% to over 70,000 people, and nearly one-third of them are children;
- In 5 years the number of homeless babies in Ohio increased 53% to nearly 3,000 infants under age 1;
- Dividing the additional $1.5 million among hundreds of local agencies won’t have a meaningful impact on rising homelessness and the growing affordable housing shortage;
- Please support a more robust fee increase in the conference committee process to generate additional resources for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.
Advocacy Director Gina Wilt and Ohio CDC Association Executive Director Nate Coffman recently testified in support of the fee adjustment, noting that the Ohio Housing Trust Fund revenue has decreased 40% while homelessness has increased.
“Unfortunately, as the need has increased, the number of state dollars available to serve these families has dramatically decreased,” Wilt said. (COHHIO Testimony)
“As you know, housing is fundamental to addressing so many other issues facing Ohio: infant mortality, opiate addiction, healthcare costs, lead poisoning, poor student performance, foster care, job absenteeism, and criminal justice. Research continues to grow and continues to reveal how access to affordable housing saves money and lives,” she added.
Several other members of the Home Matters to Ohio coalition submitted testimony in support of the Housing Trust Fund expansion amendment, including National Church Residences, Habitat for Humanity of Ohio, Enterprise Community Partners, Finance Fund, and NeighborWorks Collaborative of Ohio. All the testimony is available on the Senate Finance Committee’s website.
For more information, visit our Housing Trust Fund page.