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Housing advocates warn of pandemic-era rental assistance ending

A wooden block with "emergency rental assistance" written on it, balancing on several blocks with dollar signs.
Pandemic era rental assistance programs are coming to an end at the end of this month.

Millions of federal pandemic relief dollars were pumped into programs that assisted economically vulnerable individuals over the past few years.

One of the areas that saw a lot of investment was the creation of programs that helped people pay their rent, mortgage, and utility bills.

But in the months since the most dire impacts of the pandemic have waned, many of those federal dollars have started to dry up.

Housing advocates in Northeast Ohio are particularly worried about money running out that's being used to keep people in their homes and apartments. Those advocates say that the need for federal dollars for these programs have never been higher.

Community action groups like Step Forward or CHN are prepared to see funding stop on March 31.

Thursday on the “Sound of Ideas,” we’ll speak with a panel of guests who work directly with securing rental assistance dollars for tenants across the region, as well as representing those tenants in the courtroom.

Later in the hour we'll preview a list of events happening in Northeast Ohio ahead of the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Finally, we meet a singer-songwriter from Dover on this week’s episode of our music podcast “Shuffle.”

- Robert Morris, Staff Attorney, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
- Delores Gray, Community Engagement Specialist, Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority; Tenant Advocate
- Travena Golliday, Director of Neighborhood Opportunity Centers, Step Forward
- Angela Graves, Director of Communications & Outreach, Step Forward
- Kabir Bhatia, Senior Arts Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
- Josh Compton, Musician
- Amanda Rabinowitz, Host and Producer, "All Things Considered" and "Shuffle"

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.