Despite a projected $73M deficit, Cincinnati City Council passed a budget for FY21 that bolsters affordable housing, creates new jobs for youth, invests in a new homeless shelter for families, doubles funding for eviction prevention, and follows through on its promise to fund human services at 1.3% of the General Fund budget.
- Human Services Funding: Council appropriated $5,074,583 (1.37% of the General Fund) to the Human Services Fund (HSF) administered by the United Way, in keeping with the ordinance it passed three years ago to fund human services at 1.5% of the General Fund by 2023. One caveat: the City plans to fund these programs with federal CARES Act CDBG funds but needs a waiver from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to do so. Thanks to phone calls, public testimony and emailed pleas by HSC members, Council passed an ordinance requiring these expenses to be covered with General Fund dollars if the HUD waiver is not obtained.
- Affordable Housing: The Affordable Housing Trust Fund received a $6.6M injection from tax increment financing (TIF) funds. 25% of all TIF district funds will be set aside for affordable housing projects serving households with incomes of no more than 60% of area median income in each of those districts. 60% of AMI in Cincinnati is approximately $50K/year for a family of four.
- Youth Employment: $1.2M was appropriated for a Youth Jobs Program through the Cincinnati Recreation Center.
- Homelessness: $1M for was allocated to help Bethany House construct a new homeless shelter for families.
- Eviction Prevention: $500K for was allocated for emergency rental assistance, twice the amount allocated last year.
- Police reform: $1M was set aside for a Community Safety Response program. This allocation will fund a proposed pilot program to provide a community-based response to local emergencies involving people suffering public health, homelessness, mental health, domestic violence, or substance abuse crises.
HSC offers its gratitude to Cincinnati City Council for supporting human services in an incredibly challenging budget year.