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COVID relief on the way, but is it in time to help?

WHIO Dayton logo WHIO Dayton 5/11/2021 Jim Otte

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday signed a massive COVID relief bill that will bring $465 million to Ohio designed to keep people in their homes.

“The goal is to provide rental and utility assistance to low income households that have been impacted by this pandemic,” DeWine said in an on-line signing ceremony.

People will have to meet income requirements to qualify and they must be able to document that their job loss or reduction in work hours is directly related to the COVID crisis.

The money comes from the federal government and will flow through the state to local communities.

Grants will be available through community action agencies in the Miami Valley and statewide.

This is in addition to the $100 million made available statewide last year.

In Dayton, the agency in charge of distribution of funds will be the Miami Valley Community Action Partnership.

In Springfield it will be the OIC of Clark County. The Miami County CAC will handle applications there.

While the funding passed the Ohio General Assembly with overwhelming bi-partisan support, some members criticized the timing of it.

The bill was introduced March 2, 2021 and took more than two months to get to the governor’s desk.

During House debate, Rep. Juanita Brent, D-Cleveland, said the state’s response to the crisis was too slow.

“It might be too little, too late for a lot of our constituents who are displaced, who are without homes and trying to live the American dream here in Ohio,” Brent said.

In an interview with News Center 7 Tuesday, Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., D- Dayton said the funding should have been made available to people much sooner in the health crisis as businesses were shutting down due to restrictions.  

Blackshear said a lot more families could have been kept in their homes.

“Those families who lost jobs, those families that had to run up their credit cards, those families are in a ton of debt, because honestly the government didn’t step up when it was supposed to,” Blackshear said.

Supporters of the bill said the hope is that as the economy gets back to pre-COVID levels, this financial help will allow some families who suffered to recover faster.

Phil Cole, the president of the Ohio Community Action Association said during DeWine’s bill signing ceremony that he remains optimistic about the future.

“At the end of COVID, when we get back to normal, whatever that is, Ohio is going to be OK.” Cole said.

For more information on rent and utility assistance programs:

In Dayton, Montgomery, Darke, Greene and Preble Counties

Miami Valley Community Action Partnership:

In Springfield, Clark County

OIC of Clark County

In Troy, Miami County

Miami County CAC


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