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Advocacy-State Agenda 2012

NEOCH and Homeless Congress

Ohio Policy/Legislation Agenda

Between November 2011 and March 2012, the Homeless Congress has talked about priority issues that we intend to work on.  Below are the recommendations for the State of Ohio policies and legislation.  We must thank elected officials for designating December 21 as Ohio Homeless Memorial Day, which was a recommendation from the Homeless Congress in 2007.

  •  Increase funds for homelessness and housing with a requirement that the local communities establish in law minimum standards and a way for homeless people to file a complaint on any shelter that receives public money.  If we are going to have a major increase in gas extraction fees what about building more housing in Ohio with those funds?  We have faced so much austerity with federal and state cuts that have a negative effect on County and City budgets.  We don’t need any more tax decreases.  We need Ohio to build more infrastructure which should include affordable housing.
  • Authorize the Cuyahoga County Housing Trust Fund to preserve and expand affordable housing locally.  We ask that the State legislature authorize a local trust fund be developed with an ability to increase our local recorder fee in Cuyahoga County.  All those new funds should go to preserve and expand affordable housing in Cuyahoga County.
  • Support the expansion of the state hate crimes definition to include crimes against homeless people and to increase the penalty for such crimes.  County Prosecutor Mason has opposed this and he was able to get his Prosecutor trade association to block this effort.  Now that he is retiring we ask that the state legislators introduce this law.  Ohio is the third or fourth most dangerous state for homeless people we need additional punishments to stop young people from hurting homeless people for sport.
  • Expand to become a statewide resource to find affordable housing.  Right now the state wastes hundreds of  thousands of dollars on a useless housing locator site that is never updated.  Cuyahoga County uses a national provider that has grown to a major reference point for affordable housing.  We would like the state to drop their current provider and go with statewide.
  •  Assure that we fully implement the new federal health care law so that as many lower income people as possible are covered by health insurance so those dollars are freed up to serve those with behavioral health issues.   We believe that we can free up resources at the local clinics with more people covered by federal health insurance.  We would then be able to expand behavioral health to the population.