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Help on the way for Ohioans struggling to pay rent, utilities

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OHIO, USA — House Bill 167 was signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday morning. This new program is intended to help Ohioans who are unable to pay their rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Low income households and those who have experienced a substantial loss of income to the pandemic can contact now their local community action agencies,” DeWine said.

These agencies will then work with renters and landlords to take care of the payment, even if you have received an eviction notice.

DeWine says the goal of this is bill is to invest in Ohio’s people.

“Into our businesses and our communities, so our state and our people emerge even stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

President and CEO of the Fair Housing Center Marie Flannery said this is a positive development for the Toledo community. She said in order for us to maintain housing, we can’t just kick the can down the road. We have to take the fact that rent needs to be paid at some point into account.

“Landlords have mortgages and there’s only so many moratoriums that they can take advantage of or forbearance periods, but at the end of the day, they still owe that,” Flannery said.

Sarah Jenkins, also with the Fair Housing Center, says on top of this benefiting landlords and having revenue to pay their mortgage and maintain the property, it’s also a huge help for tenants.

“With the moratoriums in place that were in place, I think a lot of them fell many months behind in rent and utility payments and that makes it that much more difficult to get caught up when you have that much accumulated past debt,” Jenkins said.

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The new law sets aside $465 million to provide emergency assistance to Ohioans.

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