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Ohio Supreme Court unveils plan to combat evictions

Lakewood Municipal Court
Posted at 5:05 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 18:15:22-04

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — When the Supreme Court issued a decision ending the CDC eviction moratorium in August, many feared it would lead to a tsunami of eviction filings.

While prominent Ohio judges told News 5 they are not seeing an immediate increase in eviction filings, they are looking at new ways to combat evictions.

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, along with Senator Sherrod Brown and Lakewood judge Patrick Carroll unveiled a new eviction diversion toolkit for judges.

“Many of the landlords want to get their money, this should help them do that,” Carroll said.

The toolkit helps judges point renters and tenants to exactly where they need to go in order to receive rental assistance from the government.

“I’m concerned about the landlords and the tenants out there at wit’s end, what are they going to do,” O’Connor said. “There is a path forward, and it’s access to these federal dollars.”

Earlier this year, the federal government sent $775,405,764.40 to Ohio from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. However, lawmakers said in some parts throughout the state, much of that money remains unused.

“There are tens of thousands of renters around the country that could face eviction that don't know these dollars are out there,” Brown said.

A spokesperson with CHN Housing Partners, a nonprofit based in Cleveland, told News 5 they have already helped deploy nearly $43 million in rental assistance to tenants in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County since July 2020.

The toolkit also works to help mediate disputes and keep evictions off renters’ records, which can become a long-term problem for those trying to rent in the future.

“There are alternatives to business as usual,” O’Connor said.

Judges across Ohio will now work to establish eviction diversion programs, similar to what’s already being done in Lakewood.

“During these troubled economic times, if we can help people, the landlord can get the money, the tenant can stay in the property, it’s a win-win for everybody,” Carroll said.

To view the Judicial Guide to Eviction Diversion from the Supreme Court of Ohio, click here.