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Columbus Receives $26 Million For Rental Assistance

For Rent yard sign
Shane Adams
/
Flickr Creative Commons

Columbus has received $26.8 million in federal funding for rental assistance.  The money comes from the most recent stimulus package which was signed into law in December.

Mayor Andrew Ginther says the city will prioritize households at the lower end of the income scale.

“Sixty percent of the funding will be targeted to households at less than $42,000 for a family of four in annual income,” Ginther says. “The remaining dollars will be available to households that make less than $67,000 for a family of four.”

Those figures are based on federal benchmarks for “very low income” and “low income” respectively.  Both are defined as a percentage of area median income, or AMI.

Councilmember Shayla Favor applauds the new funding as a way to help families during the uncertainty of the pandemic. 

“The need is still strong the pandemic is not over and we must continue these efforts to provide our families in need with much needed stability during these uncertain times,” she said.

Favor notes the city has already been able to dole out $16 million in rental assistance during the past year thrrough the CARES Act.  She says those dollars helped more than 7,600 households.

Columbus Department of Development director Michael Stevens says like previous funding, these dollars can help tenants cover rental payments they’ve missed, but the city has greater flexibility in how it spends the money.

“What’s different with this round of funding is it’s also prospective,” Stevens said. “So if you have lost a job, and been impacted by COVID, and can’t make future payments, you can get funding to make those payments up to 12 months.”

In the immediate term, the city will direct $10 million of the funding to IMPACT Community Action to bolster its existing rental assistance efforts. In addition Columbus will direct $3 million to CelebreateOne to help new and expectant mothers at risk of losing their housing.