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Ohio's $465 million rent, utility relief package a breath of fresh air for those struggling

Gov. Mike DeWine signed House Bill 167 Tuesday, and it allocates the millions for such services.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — More rounds of financial aid are sweeping through Ohio.

On Tuesday, Gov. Mike DeWine gave the green light for $465 million for Ohioans to keep roofs over their head and lights on. The news of DeWine's signing House Bill 167 brought a quiet sigh of relief for those desperate for financial help.

“I wake up every day thinking, 'Okay, is this the day that the worst could happen?'" Katrina Tunkara shared.

For Ohioans, the worst being no lights, water, sewer or no roof to live under.

"What's in my hand is bills that are shortly getting ready to shut off," Terrance Dewalt said months ago.

"People will have to choose between paying rent or putting food on their table," Jennifer Toth added back then.

HB 167 is more than four times the size of the state's first rent and utility relief package, which allocated $100 million for rental and utility assistance. The governor says the money from the new law can be used for "electricity, gas, trash, water, home energy and internet services in certain circumstances."

"The goal of this bill, just to restate, is to invest really in Ohio’s people," DeWine emphasized.

Eligibility is based on the size of your house and how much money you make, but if you've been struggling (a reality for far too many Northeast Ohioans) and are already on the edge of being evicted, the governor says this money is intended for people just like you.

"We’re seeing an unprecedented need during this crisis, and it's a different need than what we've seen before," Kevin Nowak, executive director for CHN Housing Partners, said.

"It's pretty much the death of your dignity," Tunkara opined of her situation.

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