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Hamilton County offers $3.5M in rent relief for those affected by COVID-19

Posted at 9:57 AM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 17:22:07-04

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio — County officials awarded three agencies with $3.5 million to help renters who have lost income because of the pandemic.

Officials awarded the Freestore Foodbank, Talbert House and Community Action Agency with contracts totaling $3.5 million. The organizations aim to help more than 1,200 renting households.

The money for the Hamilton County CARES Rent and Utility Relief Program comes from the $142 million federal dollars allocated to the county to help alleviate the financial burden of COVID-19.

The county will pay up to three months of rent and utilities with a maximum of $2,500 for households at or below 80% of the area median income:

Hamilton County commissioners set aside $5 million for rental assistance. The remainder of the money will be used to develop a partnership with the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts on an eviction settlement program.

An eviction moratorium on families in public housing is also supposed to end this week, but now that’s changing.

The Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority said in a statement that its board "agreed to extend past the HUD deadline... until Sept. 1" to give families more time to tap into rental resources.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said the end goal is to allow families to stay in their homes and avoid eviction.

“So many in Hamilton County are struggling right now to pay their rent and utilities due to lost income from COVID19,” she said in a statement.

Driehaus said she anticipates all of the funding will be used. She said officials will consider allocating additional dollars if the $5 million is not enough.

Leaders from the organizations involved released the following statements:

“Freestore Foodbank is thrilled to be able to assist local families with rent and utility needs to ensure stability during these difficult times,” said Kurt Reiber, Freestore Foodbank CEO. “Thank you Hamilton County Commissioners for making this resource through the CARES Act available to households in need as we know the negative effects of COVID-19 continue to challenge our community.”

“Talbert House appreciates this opportunity to provide rent and utility assistance as well as offer connection to primary care, employment and mental health and substance use treatment to the residents of Hamilton County,” said Jimmy Wilson, Talbert House Vice President.

“The funding provided by Hamilton County will expand CAA’s ability to help those affected by COVID-19. At our Agency, we have seen a large increase in the number of requests for assistance due to the pandemic. These funds will ensure that we can continue to meet people where they are and provide them with the support needed during this time,” said Mark Lawson, President/CEO for the Community Action Agency.

To apply, Hamilton County renters can contact:

Community Action Agency
513-569-1840 option #4
Email epa@cincy-caa.org

Talbert House
call the 24-hour Housing Hotline at 513-338-8596.

Freestore Foodbank
513-357-4687
E-mail Ryan Luckie at rluckie@freestorefoodbank.org

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