The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio has been leading the charge to lift the cap on the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. At the March COHHIO conference, Bill Faith announced that they had made progress with an amendment to lift the cap on the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. The amendment had been included by Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) in a piece of legislation known as the Mid-Biennium Review, HB 483. Previously, the money raised from the local Recorders fee when property transfers goes into the Ohio Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve affordable housing. For years, Ohio has capped the revenue at $50 million with the rest going to the State's General Revenue account. At the time, the bill was moving smoothly through the Finance committee on its way to a floor vote by the entire Ohio House before the Easter recess.
The amendment was removed from the legislation at the urging of Rep. Ron Maag (R- Lebanon). Apparently, Rep. Maag took the action at the behest of a lobbyist who works for the state county recorders association. Faith said that it was unclear why this action was taken and why the County recorders did not want these funds to go to housing in Ohio.
Faith said in a mailing to supporters, "We're frustrated by this setback, but more determined than ever to lift the cap. Over time, because of the cap, the Trust Fund has forgone approximately $69M that could have been put to good use on homelessness and housing projects across the state." NEOCH along with housing organizations across the state supported the creation of the Ohio Housing Trust Fund and then designating a revenue source for these housing programs. We have seen in the past that the County Recorder in Cuyahoga County has often been an obstacle to using part of the Recorder fee for developing affordable housing.
With federal resources for homelessness decreasing by 10% over the last two years, we need the additional funding. With a sharp increase in families showing up asking for shelter over the last three years, we need some options for helping these families relocate back into housing quickly. If we can stabilize a family in housing, all the other obstacles facing the family (lack of a job, school issues, treatment) are easier to address with a safe secure place to return to at night.
Please contact your state legislator over the next two weeks to urge them to lift the Trust Fund cap.
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