COLUMBUS – State Rep. Thomas E. West (D-Canton) today announced that House Bill (HB) 167, COVID-19 relief legislation that will deliver $465 million in direct aid for rent and utility assistance, was signed into law. House Democrats have called for rent and utility relief since the onset of the pandemic, introducing bills that would have created a program for immediate rental assistance, postponed evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 pandemic, and prevented utility shutoffs during an emergency.
“We know that thousands of Ohioans have struggled to make rent and utilities on a monthly basis since the pandemic began,” said Rep. West. “This vital assistance will help them make ends meet, and it will also ease the burden on many struggling landlords who have lost income because of the federal eviction moratorium. However, it is imperative for us to distribute this funding more quickly, especially as our state and local governments prepare to receive funds from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Individuals in need cannot afford the delay.”
Democrats, however, did express concerns about Republicans delaying the release of the funding, which was originally included in the federal CARES Act, which passed in March 2020, as well as the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act, which passed in Dec. 2020.
HB 167 also includes $100 million for federal disaster assistance.