Joseph’s Home Joins COHHIO Efforts to Defend Affordable Housing
During recent state budget proposals, the Ohio legislature included an amendment in the state budget which would have had a devastating impact on Ohio’s affordable housing stock. This amendment would have significantly increased the costs of operating many tax credit and subsidized housing properties by taxing them the same as conventional market-rate housing, without regard for the federal rent restrictions that require lower rents and ensure low-income people can afford to live there.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, more than 500,000 people in the United States experience homelessness on any given night. In addition, only 1 in 4 extremely low income households who need housing assistance actually receive it. In the Greater Cleveland area, a person would need to work full-time at a wage of at least $13.29 per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent. At the Ohio minimum wage of $8.70 per hour, a person would need to work 61 hours per week every week to afford that same one-bedroom apartment.
For residents at Joseph’s Home, subsidized housing is essential. Due to medical conditions that limit their ability to work, many of our residents rely on Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) of $783 per month. Without subsidized rental housing options, we would not be able to work with residents to find and secure safe, quality housing, and they could remain stuck in homelessness indefinitely.
“The only solution to homelessness is housing, and quality housing that is affordable to families and individuals with very low incomes—like the men we serve at Joseph’s Home—is in short supply. The proposed changes to property taxation would have had a catastrophic impact on these critical housing options,” said Joseph’s Home Executive Director Beth Graham.
Because this amendment would have put existing affordable housing at risk and would make it more difficult to develop new affordable housing, Joseph’s Home joined nearly 350 organizations including sister-ministry, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, in a sign-on letter and other outreach activities coordinated by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) to protect affordable housing in Ohio.
Ultimately, the Ohio legislature eliminated these toxic provisions from the state budget and will instead create a 16-member study committee charged with making recommendations about the valuation process of federally subsidized rental properties. The panel, which includes legislators and representatives of the housing industry, banks, insurance, auditors, and local governments, will be required to finalize their report within a year.
“We were proud to participate in the terrific advocacy effort led by COHHIO and supported by many local housing and service organizations, and we are grateful the Ohio Legislature came to the right solution for Ohio’s lower-income citizens.” – Beth Graham, Joseph’s Home Executive Director
To learn more about this effort, please visit https://cohhio.org/affordable-housing-under-attack-again/.