File-Ohio evictions pandemic

In this file photo, Amanda Wood, 23, waits to fight an impending eviction notice July 31, 2020, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio. Wood lost her job at a claims management company in early April. The following day, the mother of a 6-month-old found out she was pregnant again. Now, she is two months behind rent and can’t figure out a way to make ends meet.

(The Center Square) – With the Centers for Disease Control’s moratorium on eviction and foreclosure planned to expire this month, Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation to extend it.

Ohio State Reps. David Leland, D-Columbus, and Jeffrey Crossman, D-Parma, introduced the bill after saying eviction courts across Ohio continue to operate proceedings. The two also pointed to more nearly $800 million in rental assistance expected in Ohio, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

“This legislation is a tool to help keep people in their homes during this pandemic – when people are struggling to pay their bills through no fault of their own,” Crossman said. “The bill requires the parties to a foreclosure or eviction work together to find solutions that don’t involve families losing their housing during this pandemic.

“Beyond the straightforward mechanics of the bill, there are good long term policy goals, because forcing people from their homes could cause another housing crises similar to the one in 2009 that hurt communities across Ohio.”

In a press release, Leland and Crossman said 50 eviction filings were made in Cleveland during Dec. 27-Jan. 3.

Also, according to the lawmakers, the current CDC moratorium allows eviction proceedings to continue but stops the actually setting out of tenants until it expires.

“Being evicted is a catastrophe for families under the best circumstances – but right now, it’s a public health crisis as well,” Leland said. “Ohio is about to get upwards of $750 million in rental assistance, but it takes time to get that money out to people. We can’t let families be forced out on the street while they’re just waiting for paperwork to process.”

The Ohio General Assembly gaveled into session last week, and bills have yet to be assigned numbers or committees.

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.