ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Ohio is a nonprofit that assists low income households with housing issues ranging from making repairs to providing cost efficient homes. Habitat for Humanity of Southeastern Ohio Executive Director Ken Oehlers explained how the nonprofit uses American Rescue Plan Act funding, provided to local governments by the federal government, to assist homeowners in need.
“We came here today to talk to the commissioners about our ARPA request which was denied on June 30,” Oehlers said. “And while we’re disappointed that the commissioners denied our request, the thing we were really disappointed in is the way in which it was denied and the verbiage that was said as part of that denial.”
Oehlers referred to a misconception of people in need being people who won’t work and noted that’s simply not the case. He pointed to disabled veterans and the elderly who are unable to make repairs.
Oehlers also mentioned how working-wages and social-security have not kept pace with inflation.
“Most of the low-income families that I know are very hard working and several of them work in trades and in professions which were considered and still are considered essential as part of the pandemic,” Oehlers said. “People who are taking care of our sick and dying, people who are taking care of our loved ones.”
The city of Zanesville has recognized the need for affordable housing and has allocated $275,000 dollars of their ARPA funds to Habitat but those funds will not aid families in need throughout the county.