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COLUMBUS (WCMH)– While the coronavirus pandemic rages on, some Ohioans face another crisis — being evicted from their home. State lawmakers are calling for action before it’s too late.
“The truth is we’ve seen thousands of evictions filed already during the pandemic and that’s not the tip of the iceberg. That’s the tip of the glacier,” said Carlie Boos, executive director of Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.
Toward the end of July, the federal moratorium on evictions was lifted and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation expired. At the same time, around 20 percent of Ohioans have no confidence they’ll be able to afford next month’s rent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“These are just normal everyday people that you’d see at a grocery store or on a street that have been living life the correct way but for no fault of their own were hit by the fall out of this COVID crisis,” said Rep. David Leland, (D) Columbus.
Representative Leland and Representative Juanita Brent introduced the Eviction Crisis Response Act this week at the Ohio Statehouse. The bill would take $270 million from Ohio’s rainy day fund and create a program for rental assistance.
“10 percent of the rainy day fund is the least we can do to help half a million Ohioans who may be evicted from their homes,” said Rep. Leland.
The program could pay rent that is owed back until April 1 with a limit of two months. It would be temporary and after 60 days it would send back what money is left to the rainy day fund. Boos believes if Ohio does not help these people, the looming eviction crisis will impact everyone.
“You’re going to see it start with the tenant and go up to the property owner, which goes up to lenders and banks,” said Boos. “This is something that’s going to have consequences across the board.”
The Ohio House of Representatives is not scheduled to be back in session until mid-September. Rep. Leland said that if the bill is passed, it will go into effect immediately.