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Central Ohio Housing Advocates Welcome New Eviction Moratorium

The CDC has issued a new eviction moratorium, this time tied to a county’s rate of community transmission.

The new order prohibits evictions in counties with substantial or high levels of transmission—the CDC’s two highest designations. As of Tuesday, 70 of Ohio’s 88 counties, fit the bill, including the three largest: Franklin, Cuyahoga and Hamilton.

Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio spokesman Marcus Roth welcomes the moratorium, noting it will give more renters time to receive assistance.

“It’s really important that we have this reprieve right now because it’s taken some time to process applications for emergency rental assistance, and we really don’t want to have people getting evicted while they’re waiting to get connected to assistance,” Roth said.

He says although federal legislation has committed an enormous amount of funding to assistance, that money only reached local authorities in the past few months.

He also notes the previous moratorium was difficult for some to navigate. Renters have to file a CDC declaration form to receive protection from eviction, and then apply for financial aid separately.

Now, with restrictions tied to a county’s rate of transmission, which could change, Roth said the process isn’t getting simpler.

“The fact that the new order now only applies to places where the virus is spreading quickly it adds another layer of complexity. That said, it is much better than nothing,” he said.

And for those who do receive help, the funding is generous. Roth said renters can receive up to 12 months back rent as well as up to three months of rent going forward.

Still he argues COVID-19 has highlighted the need for structural changes in housing policy like improving voucher programs and building more affordable housing generally.

“Short-term relief is great and should be enough to get us through this crisis right now,” Roth says, “But there’s also a long-term crisis that’s been brewing for decades that we also need to deal with, and we can’t wait any longer,” he said.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.