(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Governor Mike DeWine today announced that the Coalition of Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) will receive $2.25 million to help improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality by providing stable housing for low-income families.
“Together, we are ensuring that more at-risk, pregnant moms will have a roof over their heads because inadequate housing is a huge risk factor for infant and maternal mortality,” said Governor DeWine. “By removing this burden for parents, we’re creating bright futures for our children.”
The Housing Assistance to Improve Birth and Child Outcomes Program will assess the impact and effectiveness of housing and rental assistance to reduce risk factors for infant mortality, increase housing stability of low-income households with children, while improving maternal and infant health outcomes.
“Safe and affordable housing is essential to the health of our communities,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “This funding will provide housing stability and ensure that residents can prioritize their health.”
Through the program, COHHIO will enroll and support pregnant women and households in Franklin and Summit counties. The program will allocate 24 months of rental assistance and intensive housing stabilization services, including landlord mediation, financial assistance, health care coordination, and person-centered planning and motivational interviewing to support the attainment of basic needs and achieve long-term economic stability. Franklin and Summit counties are among the most housing cost-burdened areas in Ohio.
“The death of an infant is a tragic loss for families and communities,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D., MBA. “By addressing housing stability, which can have a direct impact on maternal health and infant vitality, we can help to improve long-term outcomes for mothers and babies.”
Governor DeWine prioritized funding for this initiative in the state’s 2022-2023 operating budget, which was passed by the Ohio General Assembly last year. The program is funded through the Ohio Department of Development and managed in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and the Governor’s Office of Children’s Initiatives.