Fear of losing home should be avoidable

There is much work to do if Ohio is to make the leap for which we all hope in the coming years. Among the problems still without a solution is the shortage of affordable housing. In fact, according to data from the Coalition of Homelessness and Housing in Ohio released Thursday, that problem is getting worse.

Cleveland.com reports the data showed for every 100 households with “extremely low income,” there are 40 affordable units. That is a 6 percent decrease from last year. Sharp increases in rent, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation across the board also are worsening the problem.

“This year we have legislation that would bolster the Ohio Housing Trust Fund and create a new state housing tax credit,” said COHHIO Executive Director Amy Riegel, according to cleveland.com. “Let’s not squander these opportunities to make home a reality for thousands of homeless families, low-income seniors, people with disabilities

and other vulnerable Ohioans.”

Without enough housing being built (or too many buildings falling into dangerous disrepair), and without enough good-paying jobs to support monthly rent payments, the problem will spiral unless something breaks the cycle.

“With nearly 400,000 households spending over half their income on rent, many families are living on the edge,” Riegel said. “If a parent loses a job, gets sick or becomes pregnant, the family too often faces eviction and the prospects of homelessness.”

There is funding available for just the kind of one-time investments that might make that difference. There are also plenty of other good projects that could use a funding boost. But lawmakers must get their priorities in order, and access to affordable housing will help support the economy for which we are aiming. There’s no place like home, but too many Ohioans are waiting for the folks in Columbus to take the first step so they can get there.


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