COHHIO thanks Gov. DeWine and his administration for investing $15 million in federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding to provide homeless prevention and rapid rehousing services for families with children.

Earlier this year the administration awarded COHHIO a $1 million grant to pilot the use of TANF for diverting families from emergency shelters. The latest award will allow us to expand the Housing Now for Homeless Families program to serve approximately 3,500 families who are at-risk or already experiencing homelessness.

For several years COHHIO has been raising the alarm about rapidly escalating homelessness among children and families in Ohio. Nearly one-third of the more than 70,000 Ohioans who need homeless services in one year were children. The most recent state data shows a 53 percent increase in children’s homelessness over five years. Homelessness among very young children has been rising even faster – there are over 3,000 babies under age 1 in Ohio’s homeless system.

The Housing Now for Homeless Families program is designed to utilize federal TANF funds to prevent children and families from becoming homeless and to quickly move homeless families into permanent housing. Local networks that include homeless services agencies, churches, United Way chapters, county job and family services offices, and other local groups are using these evidence-based strategies to fight family homelessness, but they lack the resources necessary to address the scale of the problem. Due to restrictions unique to the federal TANF program, these funds are intended to supplement other existing sources of funding for RRH and homeless prevention services.

COHHIO is in the process of reviewing applications from 20 lead agencies throughout the state and plans to begin distributing TANF funds beginning in September.

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