Posts Tagged ‘People Without Housing’

The Sound Of Silence

June 1, 2022

“The Gap report released jointly by the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio and the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows a deficit of 254,545 rental units that are affordable and available to the state’s 443,717 extremely low income households. That equates to only 43 affordable units for every 100 households.” The report was issued 4-21-22. It followed data available through 2020 and does not include pandemic related housing stress. As pointed out by the report, rents jumped by an average 11% in major Ohio cities in 2021 (now, well into 2022, probably higher overall). “COHHIO Executive Director Bill Faith called on state leaders to invest $308 million of the $5.6 billion in State Fiscal Recovery Funds that Ohio received from the American Rescue Plan Act to address the affordable housing shortage.” Remember Steve Stivers, former US Congressman from a gerrymandered district that snaked from the margins of Upper Arlington to the depths of south central Ohio? Of course you do. Who could forget his opting out of representing his constituents for a job with the Ohio Chamber, and the Trump intervened special election that followed? ““Employees need a safe, decent, affordable home to raise healthy families and be productive at work,” Ohio Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Steve Stivers said. “This one-time investment of Ohio’s Fiscal Recovery Funds on affordable housing will create jobs in the near-term, and will strengthen our workforce for the long-term.”” Duh? But Steve’s not alone in his public aspiration. “More than 200 companies and organizations are supporting COHHIO’s affordable housing plan, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio REALTORS, the Ohio Bankers’ League, CareSource, Huntington Bank, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, PNC, and the Ohio Apartment Association.” It would be curious to learn if Park National Bank could be included. After all, Licking County’s Commissioners have a bit of an identity problem round about now. With Intel and all the big bucks development in the western portion, are we an urban center or an “Aw shucks” rural enclave encroached by modernity? No matter, “Erica Mulryan, Director of the Ohio Balance of State Continuum of Care, which oversees the homeless system in Ohio’s 80 non-urban counties, said rising rents and the lack of affordable housing are making it more difficult to get people out of shelter and into permanent homes. “Our agencies’ rehousing programs depend on private landlords to help get people out of homelessness. But it’s getting harder and harder to find landlords who are willing to partner with us,” Mulryan said. “Ohio’s rural and suburban counties desperately need more affordable housing.”” Get people out of shelter? What shelter? The leaders of Newark and Licking County have opted to not-be-able-to-afford-it. Meanwhile, in the county with a rural/urban identity problem, Kent Mallet gave this Economic Statistic in his Newark Advocate Answer Man column roughly a month after the Gap report: “The total volume of sold homes in Licking County through four months was $220,078,195. That’s a 21% increase from last year and a 51% increase from two years ago.” As pointed out in the previous blog posting, the county has increased its revenue stream in the last 2 years. This, in combination with the State Fiscal Recovery Funds included as part of ARP, makes the “can’t afford it” excuse rather disingenuous. Hear that silence? It’s not the duo of Simon and Garfunkel, rather the trio of Bubb, Black and Flowers, Licking County’s Commissioners.

The Mask

March 27, 2022

            “To understand the realities of power, whether in modern or ancient societies, is to acknowledge this gap between what elites claim they can do and what they are actually able to do. As the sociologist Philip Abrams pointed out long ago, failure to make this distinction has led social scientists up countless blind alleys, because the state is ‘not the reality which stands behind the mask of political practice. It is itself the mask which prevents our seeing political practice as it is.’ To understand the latter, he argued, we must attend to ‘the senses in which the state does not exist rather than to those in which it does’. We can now see that these points apply just as forcefully to ancient political regimes as they do to modern ones – if not more so.” (Pg. 430-31, The Dawn Of Everything: A New History of Humanity, David Graeber and David Wengrow) Lots of fanfare accompanied the signing into law of the bipartisan, big bucks infrastructure bill last year. The major political elites promised to finally address the issue of crumbling bridges, highways and other existing deteriorating physical necessities of a functioning community. Barely a whimper was noticed when it was disclosed that, here in Licking County, the petite political elites (the county commissioners) would choose to use the bulk of their allotment to build up the infrastructure required to support the anticipated Intel facility in Jersey Township. Undisclosed, except to the discerning, was the remarkable coincidence that the Intel negotiations took place concurrent with drafting of the bipartisan infrastructure legislation. What’s behind the mask? Currently other petite elites, Ohio House representatives Diane Grendell and Sarah Fowler Arthur, are co sponsoring Ohio HB 327 To amend sections 3314.03 and 3326.11 and to enact sections 3313.6027 and 4113.35 of the Revised Code to prohibit school districts, community schools, STEM schools, and state agencies from teaching, advocating, or promoting divisive concepts. Recently Representative Arthur was on record saying both sides of the holocaust should be presented when discussed. Is the mask a good fit? It was recently pointed out that in Zanesville Ohio “Only around 10% of the people who applied for a [Section 8] voucher in 2021 were actually housed, largely due to a lack of inventory.” “The Housing Choice Voucher Program [Section 8] is a federally-funded program that works as a way to help very low-income, elderly and disabled people pay their rent.” “That means around 90% of the people who currently need subsidized housing in Muskingum County aren’t able to get it. There simply aren’t enough landlords accepting vouchers and available units approved by federally set standards, according to ZMHA.” “”There’s a lot of reasons we struggle, but really right now it’s not as profitable here as it is in other communities,” Zanesville Community Development Director Matt Schley said. “It’s all about what the market can bare.”” (Zanesville’s lack of Section 8 housing leads to homelessness, instability Erin Couch for the Zanesville Times Recorder, 3-27-22) Does the market buy and sell masks?