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February 11, 2021

The Center Supports NEOCH Pay-to-Stay Proposal

Pay-to-Stay ProposalThe Center for Health Affairs has signed on in support of a proposal by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) aimed at helping renters avoid eviction. Called “pay to stay,” the policy would protect renters who have made late rent payments from being evicted.

Ohio is one of five states that permits a landlord to file for an eviction immediately upon nonpayment of rent. Essentially, under this proposed policy, tenants would be able to remain in their housing as long as they made their rental payment prior to an eviction judgment.

This policy is particularly important now, as the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting unemployment have exacerbated the housing crisis. Pay to stay legislation has already passed in Toledo and Yellow Springs. NEOCH is seeking passage by municipalities in Northeast Ohio.

“The Center for Health Affairs applauds the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless for leading this effort in our region,” said Patricia Terstenyak, director of community health for The Center. “Stable housing is critical to all other aspects of life – employment, family relationships, health. We at The Center are pleased to lend our support and would encourage others in the community to consider doing so as well.”

Healthy People 2030 categorizes housing instability as a key factor in economic stability, one of its five designated social determinants of health. A number of studies have demonstrated the negative impact of housing instability on health. Enacting pay to stay will protect communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by evictions, homelessness, and entrenched structural and economic inequities. This policy is consistent with the work of The Center for Health Affairs with many other community partners to end structural racism in Northeast Ohio and to address upstream factors impacting health.

Healthy Northeast Ohio, the online resource for regional population health data, offers insight into housing issues in the region. According to the site, among the seven counties it covers, the proportion of renters spending 30% or more of their household income on rent ranges from 40.9% in Medina County to 51.5% in Ashtabula County. In addition, severe housing problems, which include overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen, or lack of plumbing facilities, affect a significant proportion of households, ranging from 10.7% in Medina County to 17.5% in Cuyahoga County.

Healthy Northeast Ohio is an initiative of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and The Center for Health Affairs, supported with funding from the HealthComp Foundation.

To learn more about the pay-to-stay proposal and sign on in support, visit the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless online.

For more on The Center’s work to address structural racism, contact us.

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