Franklin County providing $2.5 million for rental and utility help to prevent evictions
Franklin County commissioners approved another $2.5 million to help with rent and utility payments to prevent evictions for county residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The $2 million that will be going to IMPACT Community Action for distribution to eligible residents will bring the total that agency has to more than $30 million for assistance in 2021, an amount that should help about 10,000 households, said Robert "Bo" Chilton, CEO of the nonprofit agency.
The other $500,000 the commissioners approved will go to the Community Shelter Board to provide help to the area's homeless population.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have had a disproportionate effect on low-income workers. Chilton said that 2020's economic collapse created an unequal recession, with poorer households paying the prices as many were laid off from service industry jobs.
The effort is aimed at preventing evictions, said Jenny Snapp, the county's assistant director of economic development and planning.
Chilton said the $2 million will be added to $11.4 million from the state in CARES Act money, $10 million from the city of Columbus, $6.8 million in federal Community Development Block Grant money through the city and county, and $500,000 from the Columbus Foundation.
The average amount of assistance will be about $3,000 per household, Chilton said.
The program is open to those making up to 80% of the area median income, which in 2020 was $47,150 for a single person and $67,350 for a family of four. Applicants must also be able to show that their income has been harmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic
According to information Chilton provided, a group of agencies including IMPACT provided $18.9 million in emergency rental assistance for 8,610 households between June 1, 2020, and Feb. 26, 2021.
Michelle Heritage, executive director of the Community Shelter Board, said the $500,000 her agency is receiving should help another 150 families facing homelessness for rent and utility assistance.
County commissioners plan to approve another $10.5 million in federal funding for emergency support this year.
To apply for rental or utility assistance or for more information, residents may visit Apply.ImpactHopeFund.org beginning on March 8th, or call 614-274-7000 to reach the Community Shelter Board.