Ensuring Housing Justice For All
Fair, equitable, and safe housing for all is a cornerstone of social justice, and it is a core program YWCA Columbus provides for the Central Ohio region. The housing system at large is built on historic barriers, and justice means severing the link between geography and opportunity—a legacy of our country’s commitment to residential segregation and discrimination. YWCA Columbus supports measures that center the data and narratives of the most housing marginalized in our community: Black, Indigenous, and people of color, disabled people, and other groups who have historically been denied access to affordable housing.
Ohio is the 8th most segregated state by income, and affordable housing is becoming more and more obsolete. As the Central Ohio region becomes an increasingly attractive residential destination for middle-to-upper-class people, we aim to keep our eyes geared toward increasing access to affordable housing. Using a systems approach, we encourage policy solutions for the creation and sustainability of affordable housing in tandem with the purposeful funding of shelters, until we create a society where all people are housed.
- The cost of maintaining essential workers in shelters has risen an average of 47% over the past 5 years. During this same time period, shelter funding from the city/state has remained virtually unchanged. While in 2016, funds from the government covered 61% of emergency shelter services, today, that same figure is 28%. The funding gap, historically filled by private philanthropy, has become too large to sustain.
- In Franklin County, 3 out of 4 families in homeless shelters are Black, compared to the overall Black population at 22%. At the YWCA Family Center shelter, almost 80% of heads of households identify as a person of color.
- In Ohio, nearly 400,000 households spend over half of their income on rent.
In response to these pressing issues, we propose policy and systems level solutions to legislators. We work with our elected officials to seek funding for more affordable housing, increase homeownership opportunities for BIPOC individuals and families, and encourage rigorous and enhanced fair housing and fair credit protections. For the housing market to be equitable and competitive, BIPOC and marginalized Americans will need support to overcome historic discrimination. Affordable housing and sustainable shelter funding must be a priority for our community.
2022-2023 Advocacy Agenda
Social Justice/Eliminating Racism
• Honesty in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum
• Equitable public safety
• LGBTQ+ rights + safety
• Reproductive healthcare for all
• Ensuring Living Wage for all
• Reform local eviction policies and practices
• Emergency rental assistance
• Tax incentives for affordable housing development
• Children are Kindergarten-ready
• Access to high-quality afterschool programs
• Family representation in policies