Widespread Praise for Portman’s Bipartisan Eviction Crisis Act

December 16, 2019 | Portman Difference

National and Ohio based housing, civil rights, and homelessness groups have announced their strong support for Senator Portman’s new bipartisan legislation, the Eviction Crisis Act, to address the national housing crisis that is undermining the efforts of millions of Americans to rise into the middle class. The bipartisan legislation will shed light on the root causes of the eviction crisis, reduce preventable evictions, and limit the devastation to families when eviction is unavoidable. Here’s what they are saying about Portman’s bipartisan evictions legislation:  

“Eviction isn’t just a consequence of poverty; it’s a cause of poverty. Yet we allow millions of Americans to face the threat of eviction each year. Families with children are at particularly high risk of eviction. Many evicted families lose their home and possessions, often falling into homelessness. Research shows that eviction thwarts economic mobility and is linked to long-term negative health outcomes. Passing the Eviction Crisis Act would be a big step forward, deepening our understanding of the problem and preventing families from the devastating consequences of displacement. Everyone needs a safe and affordable home. I commend Senators Bennet and Portman for their efforts and look forward to working with them to pass this bill into law,” said Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. 

“I applaud Senators Michael Bennet and Rob Portman for their leadership in introducing legislation to create new tools to help end America’s ongoing eviction epidemic, which most severely impacts the lowest-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, and other individuals. If enacted, the “Eviction Crisis Act” would create a new Emergency Housing Assistance Fund – a policy solution developed and advanced by NLIHC’s Opportunity Starts at Home campaign – to extend an emergency cushion to families in crisis. Together [with the legislation’s new data collection and outreach initiatives], the bill would help low-income renters avert the downward spiral of housing instability and homelessness. I urge Congress to quickly pass this bill,” said Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

“The Eviction Crisis Act is an historic response our country’s eviction epidemic. Through comprehensive data collection and emergency rental assistance, the bill will combat the devastating impacts of evictions on families and children and create a foundation for more effective prevention in the future. We are grateful to Senators Bennet and Portman for addressing this crucial area of U.S. housing policy and working to save families from eviction and homelessness,” said Shamus Roller, Executive Director, National Housing Law Project  

“The Coalition on Homelessness & Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) enthusiastically endorses the Eviction Crisis Act and the creation of the Emergency Assistance Fund designed to prevent unnecessary evictions. Evictions in many Ohio cities are hitting record levels as housing costs are growing increasingly out of reach, especially for those with the lowest incomes. We all now understand that evictions are not only the result of – but also a cause of – deeper poverty leading to increasing homelessness.  This legislation has the promise of helping to reverse that tide. We appreciate the leadership of Senators Rob Portman and Michael Bennet working together to tackle this stubborn problem,” said Bill Faith, Executive Director of COHHIO and state partner of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign.

“YWCA Columbus is proud to support this much-needed bipartisan legislation being proposed to add significant resources to understanding and mitigating the eviction crisis plaguing communities and families across the country, including our own central Ohio community. We run one of two homeless family shelters in Columbus, and every day we see the end result of an uneven eviction process. In 2019, we served over 1500 individuals. Seventy-one percent of the adults at the Family Center were women. While African Americans make up nearly a quarter of the Columbus population, more than seventy percent of the residents served at the Family Center are African American. We are not surprised by these disparities because these same disparities are evident in the upstream factors that impact homelessness, including who experiences eviction: sixty-four percent of Franklin County evictions involved African Americans (Franklin County Community Mediation Services, March 2018). We are proud to have worked alongside community partners and public officials to begin addressing this crisis locally. The resources proposed in this legislation would provide much needed assistance to ensure that we can keep more families housed, with dignity, creating a stronger community in the process,” said Christie Angel, President & CEO, YWCA Columbus.

“Local leaders in Ohio see the damage that preventable evictions inflict on their communities every day, and they’re taking bold steps to do something about it. But the problem is too serious for local governments to solve on their own. The Eviction Crisis Act would be a big help for Ohio cities, which are well-positioned to benefit from emergency assistance funding for struggling tenants and federal support for landlord-tenant community courts. These programs would allow legal aid attorneys and other social services agencies to help poor people stay in their homes and avoid the turmoil that comes with an eviction,” said Susan Jagers, Director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center.

“Nearly everyone staying in Columbus’ shelters or living on the streets has experienced an eviction. And it haunts them when trying to get back on their feet because a history of eviction severely limits a person’s future housing options. The Eviction Crisis Act will help prevent unnecessary evictions and make it possible for more people to find a place to call home,” said Michelle Heritage, Executive Director of Community Shelter Board in Columbus.

“Many Dayton area renters are living month to month on the income they earn. One small financial crisis can make it so they are unable to pay their rent or other critical expenses, creating a downward spiral of eviction and sometimes even homelessness. Finding better ways to keep people in safe, decent housing is the best thing for both them and our community,” said Tim Bete, President of St. Mary Development Corporation.

“Most low income people work harder than many of us can imagine, but typically they don’t have a strong safety net. Housing stability is a basic building block in the success of low income families. As a nation, establishing a new source of funds that can be used to prevent eviction is both a smart investment as well as an act of compassion. As an Ohioan, I’d like to thank Senator Portman for his leadership,” said Kate Monter Durban, Assistant Director of CHN Housing Network.

“Eviction is often the start of a slide down a slope toward homelessness, unemployment and chronic poverty for families, and too many evictions are preventable.  The Eviction Crisis Act, thanks to Senators Portman and Bennet, would provide tools to help with eviction prevention and assistance for emergencies when they occur.  Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing is proud to support this important intervention in the mounting crisis,” said Peg Moertl, President and CEO of Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing.

“We applaud Senator Portman for his work on behalf of many Ohio families who are facing crisis in their housing and financial lives. The Eviction Prevention Act is a great step toward ensuring prosperity for some many Ohio families and children. The tools created by this legislation will provide a comprehensive and thoughtful approach to helping working families,” said Nathan Minerd, Executive Director of NeighborWorks Collaborative of Ohio.

“Ohio’s record level of evictions is wreaking havoc on low-income households and communities across the state. A staggering 110,000 Ohio renters face eviction every year. Stable housing is clearly the cornerstone on which a healthy life rests. The Eviction Crisis Act is a comprehensive approach to a complex problem that holds great promise to reverse this harmful trend. We’re deeply appreciative to Senator Portman for championing this most important bi-partisan initiative,” said Nate Coffman, Executive Director, Ohio CDC Association.

“The instability caused by evictions ripples through every aspect of our community. Nearly 60% of the 9,000 eviction cases filed every year in Cleveland include households where children are living. Eviction does not only limit a families’ opportunity, it stunts a child’s potential. The Eviction Crisis Act would give us the tools we better need to understand the crisis and, more importantly, help prevent it. We applaud Senators Portman and Bennett for recognizing that housing stability is the foundation for success,” said Mark McDermott, VP and Market Leader, Enterprise Community Partners Ohio.

“We know from experience that a family or individual being evicted can be the catalyst for even greater problems for that household — poor school performance, job loss, addiction, homelessness and other issues. Developing a fund to prevent struggling families from being evicted is not only a sensible way to avoid creating additional crises in our communities, it is also the right thing to do for people who need help,” said Ruthann House, President/CEO of Great Lakes Community Action Partnership.

The following national organizations have endorsed the Eviction Crisis Act: Pultizer Prize recipient Matt Desmond, NAACP, National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), National Alliance to End Homelessness, National Education Association, National League of Cities, Habitat for Humanity, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Association of Social Workers, National Housing Law Project, National Women’s Law Center, Funders Together to End Homelessness, National NeighborWorks Association, Coalition on Human Needs, Children’s Health Watch/Boston Medical Center, JustLeadership USA, National Association of Social Workers, National Housing Law Project, Funders Together to End Homelessness, National NeighborWorks Association, National Women's Law Center, Public Justice, Stout, Brookings Metro, Coalition on Human Needs, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), National Housing Trust, National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, Housing Action Illinois, National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies, National Legal Aid & Defender Association, National Association for County Community and Economic Developments, National Church Residences, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, Unity Health Care, Housing on Merit, National Coalition for the Homeless, Family Promise, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Community Stabilization Project, RESULTS, Greater Syracuse Tenants Network, Food Research & Action Center, Community of Hope, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, National Health Care for the Homeless Council, National Community Action Partnership, Prosperity Now, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, National Nurse-Led Care Consortium, Mayors and CEOs for US Housing Investment, Legal Aid Association of California (LAAC), Metropolitan Tenants Organization. 

The following Ohio organizations have endorsed the Eviction Crisis Act: The Affordable Housing Trust (Columbus), YWCA Columbus, Access Center for Independent Living (Dayton), Ecumenical Shelter Network of Lake County, Inc. (Painesville), Barbara Poppe and Associates (Columbus), Phase One Recovery for Women (Cleveland), Cincinnati Development Fund, Ohio Domestic Violence Network (Columbus), Columbus Works, LISC (Cincinnati), OHIO Capital Corporation for Housing (Columbus), Clermont County Community Services (Batavia), Ohio Conference of Community Development (Urbana), St. Mary Development Corp. (Dayton), Community Shelter Board (Columbus), Ohio Fair Lending (Cleveland), Homeport (Columbus), Ohio CDC Association (Columbus), Great Lakes Community Action Partnership (Fremont), Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Supports to Encourage Low-income Families (Hamilton), Caracole (Cincinnati), Ohio Poverty Law Center (Columbus), Kaleidoscope Youth Center (Columbus), Strategic Opportunities (Bexley), Bethany House Services (Cincinnati), Caring Kitchen (Urbana), Daybreak, Inc. (Dayton), and the Nord Center (Lorain).