What do we need most to thrive in school, work and community? To be successful in life, children, youth and adults need a home. According to a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch, there is a shortfall of 54,000 affordable homes and apartments in Columbus, Ohio alone. Such shortages cause an increase in the number of “rent-burdened” renters, those who pay more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities. Unfortunately, this leaves very little for other necessities. Consequently, these families struggle to make ends meet and are forced to make hard choices between rent and food, medicine or transportation to work.
In Franklin County, OSU Extension is working to help families become stable by teaching them how to take control of their finances by:
- Offering monthly Financial Literacy training, including counseling to youth and adults.
- Providing monthly U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified and City of Columbus approved Housing Counseling to prospective home buyers, existing homeowners and renters.
- Collaborating with Workforce Development agencies to connect residents to living wage employment opportunities.
- Working with community, civic, corporate and collegiate partners to develop safe, decent and affordable housing.
- Forging strategic partnerships to address infant mortality, food insecurity, public transportation, child support and restored citizens.
- Providing one-time, emergency financial assistance to low-moderate income, working families.
A stable home provides a solid platform for positive growth, vibrant neighborhoods and economic prosperity. If you are interested in learning more about these programs or in conducting them in your own community, please contact Susan Colbert or 614-247-1983.
(Submitted by Susan Colbert, Program Director, Expansion and Engagement, Franklin County & Heart of Ohio EERA)