Programs help cut OH veteran homeless rate nearly in half
Friday, November 10, 2023
Advocates for the homeless in Ohio say effective and well-funded federal programs have helped cut the number of homeless veterans nearly in half over the past decade.
Federal agencies with a "housing first approach" have prioritized getting veterans into stable housing quickly without preconditions and provided greater assistance to landlords willing to help.
Marcus Roth, communications/development director for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, said the same approach should apply to all homeless people.
"It's been really refreshing to see that we can make progress for homeless veterans," he said. "If we apply the same approach to other populations, we can help other folks, too."
There are still more than 600 homeless veterans in Ohio, according to federal data.
Advocates for these veterans have said high rental prices and increasing eviction rates statewide could add to that number. Rent prices skyrocketed a year into the pandemic, increasing nearly 25% in Ohio from 2021 to 2022 with Cleveland and Cincinnati alone showing some of the highest rent increases in the country.
Roth said the state's continued lack of affordable housing is driving people into homelessness.
"We hear about tenants that are getting bills with a rent increase of 40% to 50%," Roth said, "and a lot of people can't afford that, and then they look around to find another place to live and they can't find anywhere else that's affordable either."
Roth said the General Assembly's creation of a new affordable-housing tax credit could offer some relief. The Senate Select Committee on Housing has been holding a series of hearings to address the affordable-housing crisis.
This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.
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