Posted February 12, 20215:46 pm
Richmond Heights Councilwoman Kim Thomas will be hosting a virtual community-wide forum on affordable housing assistance at 5:30p.m., Feb. 15.
Thomas said the goal of this forum will be to provide residents with resources they may not have known about in order to reduce the stress of housing uncertainty amid financial hardships.
"As we navigate through 2021, we are still feeling the effects of COVID-19," Thomas said. "Making sure people have affordable housing is essential to safe living. No one should have to worry about food or housing in a rich nation."
Thomas said the forum's three guest speakers will help shed some light on some housing resources for those in need of assistance.
Kate Carden, director of CHN Housing Partners located in Cleveland, will be sharing the process on how to access rental assistance through their program-- which additionally screens all applicants to see if they qualify for other assistance programs for gas, electric, water and sewer bills.
"CHN Housing Partners is the entry point to accessing rental assistance," Thomas said. "If one qualifies, the landlord may receive up to three months of back rent."
Thomas said that Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown will be discussing how the county has earmarked $2 million of federal CARES Act funding to assist families who have been impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling with their mortgages.
According to Thomas, Brown said that six percent of homeowners in Cuyahoga County are 90 days or more delinquent in their mortgage payments, and her goal is continue to protect those most vulnerable amid the pandemic.
The third speaker will be Melanie Shakarian, director of development and communications for The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, who will highlight the ways Legal Aid can help when one's housing is at risk.
"Due to job loss, many residents have found themselves in eviction court," Thomas said. "However, Legal Aid is a nonprofit and a great community partner that helps people resolve legal problems related to money, education, benefits, employment, housing, and other civil legal issues."
Thomas said the need to provide these resources to anyone who may be struggling with housing is a personal matter to her.
"Growing up, my mother worked hard, encountered financial struggles, but was always able to keep a roof over our heads, as well as the head of anyone who had a temporary need for housing," she said. "In her own way, she was a social safety net for many. And I want to give a similar safety net to others through this programming."