Past Grant Update: $40,000 HOME Grant Benefits More Than 100 Families Facing Housing Instability
Program Improves Educational Security
As the holidays approach, more than 100 families in three inner-city Cincinnati neighborhoods have a stronger sense of housing stability in their lives, thanks in part to the 2017 expansion of a tenant advocacy program by Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME) in three Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) elementary schools. Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), in partnership with our donors, granted $40,000 to HOME’s Housing Stability Program for At Risk Students this past year and has been supporting it since 2014.
In those schools — Carson Elementary School, Oyler Community Learning Center and Roberts Paideia Academy — 125 families have received counseling on tenant rights and 76 were given financial assistance with housing bills to enable them to remain in their homes. We know that housing instability affects the health, work and education opportunities of families, and that half of the children in CPS schools change schools each year because of housing challenges.
Various studies have found that student mobility, especially multiple moves, can contribute to reduced engagement in school, poorer grades and a lower likelihood of graduating, and it is particularly hard on children in early grades. University of Chicago researcher David Kerbow found, in a study of 13,000 Chicago students, that those who had changed schools four or more times by sixth grade were nearly a year behind their classmates. As we reported in last month’s Amplify issue, higher eviction activity in our region over the past five years has increased the population of homeless families, which puts an even higher strain on their educational opportunities.
Parents who have participated in HOME’s school-based tenant advocacy program reported that they feel more empowered with the increased knowledge of their rights as tenants, and that they can now focus more of their energy on their children’s education. Since 2014, Carson Elementary School — the first school to participate in the program — has seen a 10 percent reduction in the student mobility rate, which helps to further educational success.
HOME, along with Legal Aid of Southwest Ohio, worked with The Cincinnati Project to identify and quantify patterns in our community to understand the components of eviction: who, how, by whom and the communities from which they are evicted. Eviction disproportionately impacts women of color and areas of high poverty in our region, which was mapped by The Cincinnati Project and received coverage in a WCPO-TV news story.
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