Help for Homeowners and Renters
The Ohio Housing Finance Agency announced the Save the Dream Ohio: Help for Homeowners program last week. The program, using the American Rescue Plan’s Homeowner Assistance Fund, will provide mortgage assistance to homeowners that are financially struggling due to the pandemic. The program will assist with utilities, property taxes, homeowner association fees, and mortgage payments. Homeowners are eligible to receive assistance if they experienced financial hardship after January 21, 2020, and have incomes equal to or less than 150 percent of the area median income. More information is available on the Ohio Housing Finance Agency website.

The federal eviction moratorium expired on July 31, 2021. With billions of dollars in rental assistance available for renters behind on housing costs, as well as landlords who have struggled during the pandemic, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched the Rental Assistance Finder. This new tool allows renters to find information on rental assistance in their area and apply for assistance. In Ohio, emergency rental assistance programs are administered by local Community Action Agencies.

Ohio Bills Seek to Ban Teachings About Racism
In keeping with the current national debate over what is “critical race theory” and how it is (or is not) being taught, members of the Ohio House of Representatives have introduced two bills. Although different in form and potential penalties, House Bill 322 and House Bill 327 have the same goal: to end the teaching of “divisive concepts” in public schools, public universities, and state institutions. Both bills would severely hamper how teachers are able to teach and prevent culturally responsive curriculum from being implemented. HB 327 would revoke school funding and teacher licensure if provisions of the bill are violated. Both bills have received two hearings and are expected to be a priority when the legislature returns from summer break. We are joining with parents, teachers, and other statewide partners to oppose these bills.

Unemployment Claimants with Overpayments Can Now Apply for Waivers
Unemployment Compensation claimants with non-fraud overpayments that they received at no fault of their own can now request waivers. If approved, the waiver would absolve the claimant from repaying the overpayment to the state. Money will be returned to claimants who qualify for a waiver but previously repaid the overpayment.

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has started notifying individuals, by U.S. mail or electronically, who are potentially eligible for the waiver and providing them with detailed instructions for how to apply. Later this summer, once system programming is complete, the waiver applications will be reviewed, and approved waivers, honored.

Notifications are being sent to claimants in the traditional unemployment program and the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. If approved, all portions of overpayments could be waived, including the supplemental weekly $600 and $300 payments that were previously available as a result of federal stimulus legislation.