According to a 2017 study by the Community Building Institute, Hamilton County has a 40,000-unit shortage of affordable housing for extremely low-income households (those whose incomes are below $14,678). Many of these low-income households spend significantly more on housing than what is considered affordable (30% or less of income), making it difficult to pay for other essential expenses such as food and medical care. And more than 7,500 households in Cincinnati and Hamilton County experience some form of homelessness.
HSC has prioritized increasing the availability of affordable housing by focusing on three issues:
- Eviction prevention, including emergency rental assistance and legal assistance;
- Identifying additional funding sources for the City of Cincinnati’s affordable housing trust fund; and
- Promoting investment by Hamilton County in affordable housing in suburban communities outside the City of Cincinnati.
Families in Hamilton County are experiencing evictions at an alarming rate. Over 6,000 evictions were filed through Hamilton County courts in 2017. Once evicted, families are more likely to fall into poverty. Evicted persons are more likely to lose their jobs, and with an eviction on their record, finding alternate quality housing can be difficult. Many lose their household possessions, become ineligible for public housing benefits, lose their community ties, and some even become homeless. The impact of eviction on children can be particularly acute, uprooting them from their schools and negatively affecting their school achievement and health.
Eviction is a cause, not just a condition, of poverty. The good news is that local governments can enact policies to prevent families from being evicted and falling into poverty. To learn about HSC’s eviction prevention recommendations, see the infographic below and read our white paper here.