Housing Report: Out of Reach

March 2012: The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its Out of Reach report, which is posted in downloadable format below. The following bullets were noted by Paul Jarvis, Legislative Liaison for Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. The report underscores the challenges faced by those who seek to provide affordable and accessible housing for people with disabilities.

· Among ELI (Extreme Low Income) households, those relying on fixed incomes face the most limited housing choices. Roughly 8 million individuals receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because they are elderly, blind or disabled and have few economic resources. With the maximum federal monthly payment of $698 in 2012, Out of Reach estimates that an SSI recipient can afford rent of only $209. SSI is the only source of income for 57% of all recipients. Among those reliant on SSI, there is not a single county in the U.S. where even a modest efficiency apartment, priced according to the FMR (Fair Market Rent), is affordable. – page 3

· Ohio Ranks 34th in the nation for hourly wage needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment – $13.43 per hour

· An Ohioan earning minimum wage ($7.70 per hour) would need to work 70 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment with a fair market rental rate.

· The fair market rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Ohio is $698 per month.

· An Ohioan would need to earn $13.43 per hour, work 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year to avoid spending more than 30% of their income on a two-bedroom apartment offered at fair market rent.

· An SSI recipient in Ohio faces a $489 monthly gap to afford a two-bedroom apartment offered at fair market rent.

Housing-Related Links

There are many organizations providing information that can be valuable for nonprofit housing corporations, county boards, and others who develop, manage, and maintain housing for tenants, with an without special needs.  Below are a few of our favorites. Click on the name of the organization to be connected to their website.

Ohio Housing Finance Agency. OHFA is an agency of state government that makes affordable housing opportunities available to low- and moderate-income Ohioans, including first time homebuyers, renters, senior citizens and others with special needs.

Technical Assistance Collaborative. TAC is a national nonprofit organization that “advances proven solutions to the housing and community support needs of vulnerable low-income people with significant and long-term disabilities.” They say their goal is to achieve sustainable public sector systems change through evidence-based and promising approaches in mental health, substance abuse, human services, and affordable and permanent supportive housing.

HUD Ohio. This is the Ohio office of the federal Housing and Urban Development department, which funds several programs used by housing corporations and others, including Section 8 vouchers, and the 811 housing development program.  They also regularly put out guidance on issues ranging from bed bugs to privacy.

Ohio Housing Locator. This is a searchable directory of rental housing throughout the state. Home seekers can search by city, county or zip code, as well as by cost and unit size. Listings also offer important information on supportive services and accessibility features that are important to people with disabilities.


Links to Organizations Serving People with Disabilities

At DHN, we get electronic newsletters and action alerts every week from across the field of developmental disabilities, from the department and other agencies to advocacy organizations and more.  Since so much of this information is of value to those who develop and manage housing, we are tempted to forward it to our members.  Instead, we provide a list of those sources below, and will let each of you decide which websites to visit and which newsletters to sign up for.

Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities. The department’s website provides a great deal of information about the direction and plans of the state, the budget, press announcements, and a variety of links. The regular electronic newsletter is called The Pipeline, and subscriptions are free.

Ohio Association of County Boards of DD. The association supports county boards in providing services and supports to individuals with disabilities. Their website, which contains some features for members only, along with public features is a treasure trove of information about the various 88 county boards, their legislative agenda, and upcoming educational opportunities. County board staff can register to receive newsletters and alerts relevant to their positions by visiting the website.

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council. DD Council supports a number of organizations helping to build system capacity throughout the field and promoting self-advocacy for people with developmental disabilities. Information about various programs, grant opportunities, and their state and federal legislative agendas. This Week in Public Policy, composed by Legislative Liaison Paul Jarvis, covers federal and state activities and contains some of the best analyses available in Ohio.

The Arc of Ohio. A family-based membership organization and information center with a long history of successful advocacy. Regular e-newsletters supply news about state and federal advocacy efforts and educational opportunities, including those sponsored by others. They also regularly send out the DD Quarterly, published by the Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council and also the Ohio Legal Rights Services newsletters.

Ohio Legal Rights Services. Ohio’s protection and advocacy system for people with developmental disabilities. The mission of OLRS is to protect and advocate, in partnership with people with disabilities, for human, civil and legal rights.

Ohio Provider Resource Association. OPRA is a statewide association of service providers, leading efforts to collaboratively build a statewide service system that meets the needs of Ohioans with developmental disabilities.  Their website has a director of residential services providers and information about training opportunities.  Each year, OPRA and DHN team up to provide a housing-related track at a spring conference.

Resources For Nonprofit Board Members

Those who serve as board members and staff of nonprofit organizations have many places to go for answers to their questions about their roles and responsibilities, legal requirements, and best practices for governance and management. Public agencies and private groups have built web-based information clearinghouses. Click on the name of each organization below to be connected directly to their website.

Ohio Attorney General. Services for helping nonprofit boards and staff understand their legal responsibilities, including downloadable publications, video training sessions and webinars, and links to other resources.

Ohio Secretary of State. More information about the laws governing nonprofit organizations, including downloadable publications, FAQs concerning legally required filings and other paperwork.

Internal Revenue Service. Tax and compliance information for nonprofits including a comprehensive database of articles, FAQs, and other publications.  Online courses are also available at the Stay Exempt link.

Ohio Association of Non-Profit Organizations. A statewide membership organization whose mission is to “provide leadership, education, and advocacy to enhance the ability of Ohio’s non-profit organizations to serve their communities.” They host conferences and trainings and maintain an online library.

BoardSource. A nationwide membership organization allowing board members to connect with and learn from one another.  They have an extensive library of books and articles for purchase and/or download, monthly e-newsletter, workshops and events, template policy documents and more.

Guidestar. This organization gathers and publishes information about nonprofits as a services to donors and others. All nonprofit organizations filing a 990 with the IRS are profiled on the site and are welcome to update and maintain their profile for free.  Guidestar’s mission is “to revolutionize philanthropy and nonprofit practice by providing information that advances transparency, enables users to make better decisions, and encourages charitable giving.”

Center for Non-Profit Resources. A Toledo-based organization dedicated to capacity building for nonprofits in Northwest Ohio. They provide free technical assistance consulting, trainings and seminars, weekly e-newsletter with job openings and grant opportunities, grant resource center and a consultant database. Some trainings offered via the web are accessible from anyone in Ohio.

Business Volunteer Center/Center for Non-Profit Excellence. The Cleveland-based BVU and Akron-based CFNPE merged last year to form a single organization committed to promoting excellence within non-profit organizations in Northeast Ohio. They provide consulting services, trainings and workshops, webinars, an online library and links to other resources.

Blue Avocado. An online magazine for community nonprofits, publishing an email newsletter and maintaining a web-based archive of articles and other material from CompassPoint Non-Profit Services, a 501-c-3.  There are books, webinars, and links for nonprofit board and staff.