FILE - Ohio Budget growth DeWine Obhof Householder legislature

In this March 5, 2019 file photo, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, center, speaks between Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, left, and Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder during the Ohio State of the State address at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. While Dewine and lawmakers eventually agreed on a biennium budget, critics are asking why government spending in the state has far exceeded population growth over the past 30 years.

(The Center Square) – Renters, homeowners, nonprofits and small business all received help when state officials announced the release of nearly $420 million set aside to help with COVID-19 relief.

For the past two weeks, Gov. Mike DeWine, along with Ohio Senate and House leaders, said a plan was coming for the groups, along with the state’s struggling restaurant and bar industry and Ohio hospitals. The State Controlling Board approved the plan Monday.

“We know that Ohioans are hurting and needs are great. We must do what we can to help them through this crisis,” DeWine said. “Providing financial support to small businesses, the arts and nonprofits will help them keep the doors open and Ohioans employed. For Ohioans in need, this assistance will help them stay in their homes, which can make all the difference.”

A key part of the program is the $50 million set aside for households behind on their bills with an annual income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. For a family of four, that is an annual income of up to $52,400.

“Ohioans are working hard to overcome the setbacks this year has dealt us,” Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof said. “The Senate is committed to providing relief to help our families and our workforce find safety, stability and hope for the future.”

Small businesses with 25 employees or less can apply for grants to help pay for mortgages or rents, utilities, salaries, wages, supplies, equipment and other cots.

Bars and restaurants with on-premise consumption of alcohol can receive $2,500 per unique business location.

Rural and critical access hospital can receive money to offset additional costs of the ongoing pandemic, including to buy PPE for first responders.

“We are seeing a record-breaking number of hospitalizations throughout Ohio, “DeWine said. “This is deeply concerning as we are nearing the winter season. COVID-19 is not slowing down and continues to hit our rural communities hard.”

Also included is $100 million for higher education for expanded testing and mental health services, along with $25 million for nonprofits and $20 for arts organizations.

Regional Editor

An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.