The new housing boom in Columbus has been especially brutal on renters.
A record 2,000 people were evicted from their homes in the first six months of this year alone, according to data from the Ohio Housing and Urban Development Department.
More than one-third of renters in the city are paying more than 30 percent of their income on rent.
But if you’re looking for a place to rent, you’re probably looking for the most affordable, said Amy Burden, president of Columbus-based nonprofit nonprofit Living in the Moment.
She and her partners have started a group that helps low-income renters find housing, and she says they have helped more than 50 families get out of foreclosure since April.
“We’re not looking for an apartment, we’re looking at a safe, affordable place,” Burden said.
She and other advocates have been lobbying for better protections for renters, such as protections for rent stabilization and affordable housing assistance.
The Ohio Housing Department has also started to offer renters more incentives for paying rent.
In the past year, the department has increased rent payments for people who have to pay more than 20 percent of income on a rent check.
It’s also expanded its affordable-housing subsidy program, which will help renters pay for rent payments through a monthly payment plan instead of monthly payments.
Burden says the department is also considering expanding rent assistance to people with health insurance.
And Burden has helped push for a rental tax credit to help low- and moderate-income households pay for their housing costs.
The tax credit would provide up to $5,000 to help people pay for rents, and it would also cover a portion of rent for people with student loans and other forms of credit.
Burden says people should be able to afford to rent in Columbus, and that landlords should be allowed to compete to make their buildings attractive to renters.
“I think we’re moving in the right direction, but we need to do a better job,” she said.
“We need to get to the tipping point where landlords can’t be discriminated against in any way, shape, or form.” Read more: