COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans having a hard time paying their rent and mortgages could see federal protections from evictions and foreclosures go away at the end of the month.
What You Need To Know
- In Franklin County, there were about 18,000 evictions every year because people were paying more than half of their income toward rent
- Back in March, Ohio Democratic Representatives David Leland (Columbus) and Jeffrey Crossman (Parma) introduced House Bill 562
- HB 562 calls for a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic
However, a pair of Ohio lawmakers are hoping the state can save residents from both issues.
"It is very, very challenging to do this work right now," said Carlie Boos, the executive director of the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio.
Boos said before the pandemic, the state was already in a housing crisis. In Franklin County, there were about 18,000 evictions every year because people were paying more than half of their income towards rent.
"One of the thing that we had forewarned for some time was that if you have that many people sitting on the ledge of a cliff, any little earth shaking is going to push them over and unfortunately that's what the pandemic did," said Boos.
Initially, Boos said the federal CARES Act helped but that money has been or will be all used up in a couple of weeks.
"We're really ramping up for a wave or a tsunami or a blizzard, whatever you want to call it of evictions in the first few weeks of 2021," Boos said.
Back in March, Ohio Democratic Representatives David Leland (Columbus) and Jeffrey Crossman (Parma) introduced House Bill 562. It calls for a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the pandemic. The bill has not yet made its way onto the House floor.
"At this particular moment for this short period of time, we need to lend a helping hand to the people in Ohio who need us the most," said Leland.
Scott Williams, the CEO of the nonprofit organization Ohio REALTORS, said, "We oppose eviction moratorium measures as they only take into account one side of the issue and further exacerbate the economic crisis of Ohioans."
Williams said they prefer House Bill 744, which would create a COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program from a portion of the state's "rainy day fund." There has been no movement on that bill, either.
"If this isn't a rainy day then I don't know what is," Leland said.
Leland is calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to issue an executive order if Congress or the state legislature does not act in time.
“It is on the governor's radar but it is too early to tell" and the administration is "keeping its options open,” a spokesperson for the governor said.
Housing experts predict there could be as many as 400,000 evictions nationwide in first few weeks in 2021 if nothing is done.
"That more evictions in the next few weeks than we saw foreclosures during the entire Great Recession, during 10 years of the Great Recession,” Boos said. “We're going to pack that all into January and February. If you know four people who rent their homes, then statistically speaking in Ohio, you know someone who's about to be evicted.”