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Half-Million Ohioans Not Confident They Can Make Rent This Month

The pandemic's financial pressures cause many Americans to struggle with rent. Demonstrators march in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago this June to demand a lift on the Illinois rent control ban and a cancellation of rent and mortgage payments.
The pandemic's financial pressures cause many Americans to struggle with rent. Demonstrators march in the Old Town neighborhood of Chicago this June to demand a lift on the Illinois rent control ban and a cancellation of rent and mortgage payments.

It’s the first of the month. And for about 1.8 million people living in Ohio, that means the rent is due. Renters in Ohio are particularly at risk for losing their homes. And new data released by the federal government shows the mood in the state is grim.

Every week, the Census Bureau releases a report called the Household Pulse. It’s an ongoing survey that seeks to pin down how people are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. And for the week ending Dec. 7, the responses didn’t look good.

In Ohio, nearly half a million people reported either “no confidence” or just “slight confidence” that they’ll be able to pay their rent this month. That’s 28 percent of all the renters in the state.

Entrenched poverty and the eviction crisis in Ohio started long before COVID-19. But, as Trudy Elder from the Dayton-based housing nonprofit Homefull says, the economic crisis is making it harder for everybody.

"Homefull has always served a vulnerable population because we serve low income folks, right? But in addition to that, you have more unemployed folks right now," Elder says. "And those are people who never before had to reach out for help."

In addition to the $600 stimulus payments, the new COVID relief act extends the federal eviction moratorium from December 31 to January 31. But on that day, if you owe back rent, it’ll all come due at once.