COHHIO Breaking Ground - Winter Edition

February 21, 2020

February 2020

President Trump’s new housing budget plan contains more goose eggs than the family farm.

How much for the HUD-VASH program that houses homeless veterans? Zero. Capital funding for public housing in need of rehab? Zero. Community Development Block Grants? Zero. The HOME program? Zero. Low-income rural housing development? Zero. (Budget Chart)

Overall, the Trump administration wants to cut federal housing and homeless programs for low-income Americans by $8.6 billion, a 15 percent cut to current funding levels. It would also impose onerous new regulations, like work requirements that drive families deeper into poverty.

We’ve been through this same exercise for the last three years, and cooler heads in both sides of the aisle in Congress prevailed every time. In fact, total funding for federal housing and homeless programs has increased each year, despite the president’s efforts to gut HUD and other agencies that form a safety net for people who are struggling to get by in the low wage-high rent economy.

Defeating these attacks on vulnerable people takes organized, sustained, strategic advocacy – speaking out to members of Congress and the media about how these programs make home a reality for struggling veterans, those with disabilities, mental illness and addiction issues, seniors and children. (And we need your help with that, so take a minute to sign up for advocacy alerts on our website.)

Our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition have more details on the federal budget process. NLIHC does a fantastic job coordinating advocacy around the federal housing budget. (So here’s a shameless plug to support NLIHC's great work before their 2020 Housing Leadership Award Reception on March 26!)

Another bad idea coming out of the Trump Administration are proposed rules to undermine the Community Reinvestment Act, the federal law designed to combat the effects of historic discrimination in lending. Please join us in objecting to the administration’s plan to weaken federal rules that ensure banks invest in disenfranchised communities.

The administration also is making moves to undermine the nation’s response to homelessness. The new U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Robert Marbut has disdained evidence-based Housing First practices. Kudos to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) for pushing back on his punitive proposals that we know don’t work.

Ohio is fortunate to have housing promoters from members of both parties. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently joined housing advocates at the YWCA in Columbus to talk about the Eviction Crisis Act. The legislation, which he is co-sponsoring with Sen. Michael Bennett (D-Colorado), would support local programs that offer emergency assistance to prevent unnecessary evictions.

Housing insecurity is also a growing concern for state policymakers. As we work with the DeWine Administration on policy ideas, we want to highlight one potential source of new funding for agencies that serve youth and families experiencing homelessness - the Student Wellness and Success Fund. We’re encouraging homeless providers to partner with local school districts to better serve students.

Housing issues have gotten more attention as an election issue this year than I’ve ever seen. This presents a great opportunity to elect leaders who recognize the role that government should play in helping vulnerable people keep a roof over their heads. So make sure you speak out in the March 17 primary election, because the fact is politicians pay attention to communities that vote. If you’d like to learn how to mobilize your organization or community to turn out the vote in 2020, check out our Ohio Votes program.

And lastly, COHHIO staff is working hard on planning the Housing Ohio 2020 conference. Registration is now open and I hope to see you all there!

Thank you for helping house Ohio,

Bill Faith
Executive Director

(Click on any of the headlines below to read the full story)

Defend Community Reinvestment!

Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) in 1977 as a attempt to remedy historic redlining and lending discrimination policies. Thanks to these rules, banks have invested $2 trillion in low- and moderate-income communities since 1996.

But now, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation want to "reform" the CRA with new regulations that would undermine the very intent of the law. Take a stand against the Trump administration's efforts to gut rules that require banks to invest in disenfranchised communities!

Eviction Crisis Act

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) recently introduced the proposal with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) to offer emergency financial assistance to households facing eviction, help fund landlord-tenant community courts, increase the presence of social services representatives for tenants, encourage increased legal representation for tenants, add consumer protections on tenant screening reports, and improve data and analysis on the impact of evictions.

COHHIO Advocacy Director Gina Wilt was one of several housing advocates who joined Sen. Portman at a recent roundtable in Columbus to discuss the impact of evictions on struggling families and how his proposed Eviction Crisis Act could help keep people stably housed.

New School Wellness Fund an Opportunity to Serve Homeless Students

The state’s new $675 million Ohio Student Wellness and Success Fund could help pave the way for homeless services agencies to partner with local school districts to restore housing stability to families struggling with homelessness.

The state fiscal year 2020-2021 budget (HB 166), which created the Student Wellness and Success Fund, provides additional funding to school districts and community schools to support academic achievement through mental health counseling, wraparound services, mentoring, family engagement, after-school programs, and other services.

Registration for the Housing Ohio 2020 Conference is Now Open!

Please join us April 13 - 15 at COHHIO's first conference of the new decade - Focus on home: 2020 Vision.

Our Monday plenary features state agency directors discussing how Gov. Mike DeWine plans to address the growing trend of homelessness and housing insecurity among Ohio's children and families.

On Tuesday, we'll have a screening and panel discussion of the film "Segregated by Design," and an assessment of the State of Homelessness in Ohio from regional system leaders. And finally, back by popular demand, we'll close out the conference with a performance by the Commons in Harmony choir. For more information, visit our conference page.

Ohio Votes Gearing Up for 2020

With the upcoming presidential primary and general election, 2020 is going to be a very busy election year!

COHHIO's Ohio Votes program will continue to work with nonprofit organizations all across the state to engage people in underserved communities in the democratic process. Our nonpartisan outreach will focus on voter registration, voter education events, civic engagement trainings and more!

COHHIO-Anthem Risk Mitigation Fund

COHHIO’s new Risk Mitigation Fund is helping Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission keep local landlords engaged with programs that help end homelessness for people in Northwest Ohio.

Thanks to a $75,000 grant from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio, last year COHHIO created a Risk Mitigation Fund (RMF) in the Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care to recruit and retain landlords to participate in rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing programs.

Housing Allies Breakfast Break

Recognizing that housing insecurity intersects with so many other public policy issues, COHHIO has created a new forum for advocates of all stripes to share updates on their efforts to improve healthcare, food security, access for people with disabilities, criminal justice reform, children's welfare, senior services, community development and more. With over 40 attendees, COHHIO’s most recent Ally Partner Breakfast in January brought all of these issues to the table and more.

DV HMIS Workgroup Making Progress

The Domestic Violence Homeless Management Information System Workgroup continues its efforts to improve coordination between domestic violence services agencies and housing providers with the development of a data collection protocols document and an assessment tool for use in coordinated entry to the homeless system.

Grant Opportunities

The Ohio Development Services Agency is now accepting pre-applications for special projects and innovative proposals targeting households with incomes at or below 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) and meet the Ohio Housing Trust Fund’s (OHTF) rules and requirements.

In Other Developments - Winter 2020

The Ohio Housing Finance Agency recently released information about the 88 applications it received for the next round of 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC). A list of applicants and summaries of the proposed projects seeking a combined total of $76 million is now available on their website.

Winter Training Bulletin

The Housing Ohio 2020 conference is coming up on April 13 - 15, but you don't have to wait to take advantage of COHHIO's training opportunities! And, as always, you can learn about a broad variety of subjects from past trainings on our Training Materials page.

Request for Proposals: Coordinated Entry

The Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care has issued this Request for Proposals to help evaluate and refine the Coordinated Entry (CE) system for all individuals and families who are homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness.

February 2020 Workers Comp Update

The Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation's Annual Safety Congress & Expo is approaching. Learn about this important training opportunity and other important information in the February Newsletter from our partner CareWorksComp. Visit our workers’ comp page to find out how to cut your agency’s workers’ comp premium.

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