Do you have a family member, friend or neighbor who recently lost his/her job; had to reduce their number of hours at work due to health issues; pay more than 30% of their income on housing; or lost 50% or more of their income due to the death of a spouse, divorce or unemployment? If so, most of them will probably be evicted, face foreclosure, miss housing and utility payments, receive public assistance, etc. Obviously, it’s important for residents to know that these results not only affect the households of their families, but the community at large.
These problems contribute to an inordinate high number of evictions; food insecurity; infant mortality rates; inability to get prescriptions and medical attention; mental, emotional, social and physical ills; and community development. Revenue from property taxes will decrease if families fail to make their mortgage payments. Neighborhoods will suffer with blight, disinvestment, and crime when properties are left vacant and abandoned, and public assistance budgets will surge.
It’s important that we address these community-wide problems with community-wide solutions. Towards this end, leaders from communities, corporations, colleges/universities, civic organizations, and churches need to unite and help families avoid these issues by developing innovative programs and unique partnerships to strengthen the lives of families and, subsequently, communities.
OSU Extension understands the correlation between personal finances and community development. Towards this end, we work diligently to strengthen the lives of families and build strong communities by educating and empowering residents with the knowledge, resources, and skills essential in helping them take control of their finances and future! To see what OSU Extension is doing to make a difference in the lives of children, youth and families in Columbus, visit franklin.osu.edu.
Susan Colbert is the Franklin County Extension Program Director for Expansion and Engagement.