The Franklin County Commissioners welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has extended the moratorium on residential evictions through June. Keeping the eviction halt in place was one of the commissioners’ policy priorities during this month’s National Association of Counties (NACo) Virtual Legislative Conference.
“This is a compassionate, commonsense ruling and I commend the Biden Administration for taking action,” said Commissioner Kevin L. Boyce. “We know more relief is on the way for families in the American Rescue Plan, but we simply could not let this CDC order lapse.”
In addition to sponsoring the resolution urging the federal government to implement a halt to residential evictions until the COVID-19 public health emergency declaration is rescinded, the commissioners called for congress to provide additional funding and flexibility to county governments to administer rental assistance and additional housing stability supports.
“Stable housing is a key to beating back this virus,” Commissioner Marilyn Brown said. “Counties – and families – have been stretched to the brink through this pandemic, and the last thing we need is new wave of evictions. This was the right call.”
Commissioner John O’Grady and Deputy County Administrator for Health and Human Services Joy Bivens sponsored the policy resolution at NACo two weeks ago. It advanced through NACo’s Community, Economic and Workforce Development Committee with near-unanimous support before being adopted by the association’s board of directors on March 19.
“This is a no-brainer,” Commissioner O’Grady said. “While this extension doesn’t go quite as far as we have advocated, I know Franklin County and NACo are committed to this issue – and that we’ve got a committed partner on the other side of the table in the Biden Administration.”
In her sponsor testimony, Deputy Administrator Bivens cited the public health risks that come with congregate settings like emergency shelters. She also pointed to inequities in the national and local housing system that put women and communities of color at a higher risk of eviction – inequities that predate the pandemic.
Through their Department of Job and Family Services, the commissioners have administered more than $2.4 million in housing assistance last year with the Prevention, Retention and Contingency
program, and provided millions more in funding
to partners like IMPACT Community Action and the Community Shelter Board to help keep Franklin County families in their homes. Residents seeking assistance should visit JFS.franklincountyohio.gov/PRC
for more information.
NACo also adopted another Franklin County-led interim policy resolution during the month-long Legislative Conference. This resolution, co-sponsored by County Administrator Ken Wilson and Deputy Administrator Bivens, called on the federal government to prioritize racial health equity as a central component in a national COVID-19 vaccination program. In addition to outlining how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted minority communities, it also called for additional funding from Congress to support greater inter-governmental coordination, research-based communications campaigns that address myths and misinformation about vaccines, the legitimate concerns of communities of color that have faced historical mistreatment at the hands of the American healthcare system, and funding to strengthen local and public health infrastructure and expand the public health workforce. The resolution sailed through NACo’s Health Steering Committee before being adopted by the board of directors.
to view the list of interim policy resolutions adopted at this year’s NACo Legislative Conference.