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Tenants, landlords push Congress for help in latest relief bill


FILE - A For Rent sign in front of a Columbus home. (WSYX/WTTE)
FILE - A For Rent sign in front of a Columbus home. (WSYX/WTTE)
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With so many Ohioans out of work an eviction crisis is inevitable. That’s the warning from the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio if nothing is done to help struggling families pay rent.

The group had a teleconference call with the Ohio Poverty Law Center and the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County to discuss the housing crisis the Buckeye State is in right now.

They want congress to pass a bipartisan relief bill that will incorporate "basic rental assistance" for those especially hit hard during the pandemic, like low-wage workers who lost their jobs.

No dollar amount was given on the rental assistance relief program, but we were told the relief will be based on a person's income and rent and payments would go directly to landlords, not the tenants. The executive director for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, Bill Faith said people out of work during the pandemic is not a time where the rent simply goes away. That money is still owed to the landlord and this relief program would not get tenants "off the hook" from paying rent. It's just a way to provide some help.

“There is work being done on a new relief bill. We're hoping to gain support for bipartisan agreement, the basic rental assistance should be provided to tenants going forward,” said Faith during the teleconference call Thursday morning.

A staff attorney for the Ohio Poverty Law Center said they expect an influx of eviction notices soon too. Some local courts have not processed these notices to give renters time to pay.

But advocates say if congress doesn't step in to help, a cascade of evictions will soon be coming in.

Now that some people are going back to work, the Affordable Housing Trust for Columbus and Franklin County said if you have money to pay your rent, do it now. If you can't talk to your landlord to work something out or call the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio at 614-280-1984.

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