URGENT: Help prevent evictions and foreclosures
You can help prevent a huge wave of evictions in Ohio by connecting people in your community to your county’s emergency rental assistance team. This is urgent, because the CDC’s extension of the eviction moratorium is already being stopped in court action. Federal funds can be used for up to 12 months of arrears and three months of prospective rent. Bill Faith, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, is advocating with court officials to not process evictions in cases where landlords refuse to accept these payments or are not helping their tenants to apply.
COHHIO’s home page (https://cohhio.org/) gives the directory of agencies distributing federal COVID housing assistance in each Ohio county. The processes vary by county, but the point is that the money is there, the application process is fairly simple, and social workers are now up to speed and able to help people complete the forms. Please make sure that the emergency assistance programs aided by your congregations have flyers to hand out with contact information for local housing assistance teams. I also urge you to reach out to landlords in your congregation and community to tell them about the federal rental assistance that can make them whole. You can use the attached flyer prepared by Ohio Realtors.
Some counties have launched innovative solutions. Hamilton County has launched the 513 Relief Bus to visit key neighborhoods to provide COVID vaccinations and to help people complete applications for rental assistance and public benefits.
Governor finally convenes Ohio Redistricting Commission
Ohio’s constitutionally mandated Redistricting Commission held its first meeting Aug. 6 after finally being convened by Gov. DeWine. This is the group tasked with producing a map of state legislative districts under the new rules by Sept. 1. It is required to hold at least three public hearings on that map before it is adopted, but the hearing schedule had not been decided as of the first meeting. I will share the schedule as soon as possible, together with information on how you can testify.
The Cincinnati Enquirer provided this summary of Ohio’s new process for state and Congressional district maps.
The U.S. Census Bureau is scheduled to release the detailed population counts on which redistricting depends on August 12, four months later than normal because of pandemic delays. The constitutional amendments on redistricting approved by Ohio voters require the Ohio Legislature to complete Congressional district maps by Sept. 30, also with public input. Fair Districts Ohio is holding a Fair Maps Day on Sept. 21, starting at Trinity Episcopal Church Capitol Square and continuing at the Statehouse. Stay tuned for more details.
Click below for graphics illustrating the new voter-approved processes for both state and Congressional district mapping. These include safeguards curtailing some of the worst practices of partisan gerrymandering and the requirement that the mapmaking includes minority party representation. Visit the Fair Districts Ohio coalition website to learn what you can do to ensure that we get representative districts where all votes count. The Fair Districts coalition includes the Ohio Council of Churches, the League of Women Voters of Ohio, Common Cause Ohio, and other non-profits.
Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming, and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team.