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ACTION ALERT: Payday lending reform needs 100 calls

Do you think that Ohio should have the worst payday lending interest rates in the country that can be around 600%? If no, then please call your Ohio House Representative today to support House Bill (HB) 123.

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee recently voted 9-1 to move HB 123 forward. With enough pressure from constituents, the bill is likely to come before the full House for a vote in mid-May. This is coming after revelations of an FBI investigation of payday lender lobbyists providing lavish international travel to the ex-Ohio House Speaker.

It is critical we make our voices heard to legislators over these two weeks. We can’t become complacent.

Our goal is to have House members receive 100 calls urging them to vote YES on this bill. Will you be one of those calls?

Please call your members of the Ohio House and ask them to vote YES on HB 123 to protect consumers and reject the influence of predatory payday lenders.

Here’s a simple sample of what you can say:

My name is ____ from ____. I am calling to urge you to vote YES on bipartisan payday loan reform, HB 123, to protect consumers and reject the influence of predatory payday lenders. Can we count on your support?

After you call, feel free to send us a note telling us how it went, and so we can thank you for your advocacy.

In case you missed the recent coverage, check out:

Editorial: Ohioans Deserve Answers to Payday Lending Questions
The Columbus Dispatch

Payday Lender Made International Trips with Ohio House Speaker
Dayton Daily News

Your calls can and are making a difference.

Thank you for your advocacy!

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ACTION ALERT: Payday Lending Scandal

Dear Members & Stakeholders:

OCDCA has been involved in a coalition, Ohioans for Payday Lending Reform, to enact meaningful payday lending reform. Ohio has the highest costs in the country with the typical loan APR close to 600%.

This week following the resignation of House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger over an FBI investigation with ties to payday lending lobbyists and lavish international trips, HB123, which has been in the house for over a year and would create meaningful payday lending reform, came up for a hearing in the House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee.

A compromise amendment with support of house leader Kirk Schuring and the bill’s bipartisan sponsors was expected to be voted quickly out of committee. The amendment would close the Credit Service Organization (CSO) loophole, includes a six-month minimum loan term with no early payment penalty and a 50% limit on the total costs and, although not perfect, would lead to dramatically lower costs than today. Payday lender lobbyists vigorously opposed the amendment and exerted tremendous pressure to stop a vote on HB123 from happening.

Your voice is needed more than ever.

Call your representatives at the statehouse today and demand that they pass payday lending reform now to protect people, not predators.

Here’s a proposed phone script:

Payday loan borrowers in Ohio need relief now. Pass HB123 out of the House immediately (if necessary, with friendly amendments from bipartisan co-sponsors Reps. Koehler and Ashford). The bill is a compromise that keeps credit available. It is critical that Ohio closes the CSO loophole, reins in the exorbitant prices and gives borrowers enough time to repay. Payday lenders and their lobbyists are doing everything they can to stop real reform from moving forward. Protect people, not predators.

Check out the latest coverage of the developing story in The Columbus Dispatch and Statehouse News Bureau.

For a quick read on what happened at the Statehouse, read and retweet Brent Larkin’s fiery column that ran in The Plain Dealer or the Akron Beacon Journal‘s editorial.

Please share this email. Now is the time to enact reform and for the legislature to represent people, not payday predators!

Thank you for your advocacy,
Nate Coffman
Executive Director
Ohio CDC Association

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Stuck in dial-up age, rural Ohio still pushing for high-speed internet

A recent Dispatch article featured Terri Fetherolf of OCDCA member Vinton County Economic Development Board.

Marion Renault of The Columbus Dispatch:

“McARTHUR — Terri Fetherolf has two wishes for Vinton County: clean water and fast internet.

The first is imperative for its safety and health. “But rolling out broadband is key to our economic survival,” said Fetherolf, Vinton County’s development director.

Today, high-speed internet has become a utility as important as sewage systems, the electricity grid and highways.

But despite the internet’s tightening chokehold on technologies embedded in our pockets, homes, vehicles and public spaces, more than 1 million Ohioans have zero access to fast, reliable broadband at home.

Almost a third of Ohio’s rural residents lack home access to broadband, compared with just 2 percent of urbanites, according to Federal Communications Commission estimates. Those figures are slightly better than the national rate.

Last week, a legislative proposal to establish a $50-million-per-year broadband development grant program inched forward, fueling the hopes of advocates.”

Read the full article.

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Community Development Week starts April 2nd

Please find below information from the Ohio Development Services Agency regarding Community Development Week April 2 – 6.

The week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the successes of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investments Partnerships program (HOME), and other critical community development resources.

Each year, you, our community development professionals are asked to do more with less. Through your collaborative efforts, we’ve been able to help many low- and moderate-income individuals in communities across the state.

This year marks the 32th anniversary of National Community Development Week. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your communities’ accomplishments and projects. It is an excellent opportunity to educate residents, business owners and elected officials about the CDBG, HOME and other community development programs through ODSA and how they improve the quality of life for all.

The work you do locally helps to strengthen communities across Ohio. We encourage you to participate in in Community Development Week this year. The Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA) has a planning guidebook for the week. The National Community Development Association also has resources and ideas for events and outreach you can do locally.

If your community is planning any activities or events during the week, please contact Deauna Gibbs at deauna.gibbs@development.ohio.gov or 614-752-9556 with more information. We would like to highlight the change you’re making in the communities where you live and work.

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Approaching partnerships between health care institutions and community development organizations

Amanda Abrams for Shelterforce:

The shift has been unmistakable: health care organizations are increasingly focusing on upstream factors that affect their patients’ health. To some degree, that shift is the result of state and federal legislation, particularly the Affordable Care Act, which regulates nonprofit hospitals’ preventive care activities. But it’s also just common sense. Addressing patients’ big-picture realities—that is, the social determinants of health like housing, job creation, and food security—can have deep impacts on their day-to-day health and the interventions that are needed.

That new mindset has been a boon to many community development organizations, whose target populations—low-income groups—often tend to be frequent hospital users. The result has been a wide range of collaborations between community development groups and health care institutions that have sprung up around the country. In many cases, the partners have jointly determined that the community’s health problems could be mitigated through the provision of safe, healthy, affordable housing, often making housing development and rehab a front-and-center priority.

It’s a win-win situation: health care institutions save money as patients’ chronic conditions and repeat visits are reduced, while community development groups locate new sources of funding that can further their missions.

Read more in Shelterforce (and subscribe while you’re there!). You’ll hear about OCDCA members LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation.

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What’s happening? Payday lending reform & federal budget

A brief sample of our February 2018 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

First round of signatures filed to put payday lending reform initiative on statewide ballot

Leaders of an initiative to put payday lending reform on the November statewide ballot on Wednesday turned in over 2,000 petition signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. Backers are pursuing this direction because state lawmakers have not acted on reform. The petition language calls for a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates in Ohio at 28%. Pastor Carl Ruby, of Springfield, and Nate Coffman filed the petitions. At least 1,000 of the Ohio voter signatures must be validated and the Attorney General’s Office must determine that the summary of the proposed constitutional referendum is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law.

Payday lenders charge an average 591% annual percentage rate in Ohio, the highest such rate in the nation. Pastor Ruby said that rate is ridiculous, and he is tired of seeing lenders gouge vulnerable, lower-income working Ohioans. The ballot initiative mirrors some of the reforms called for in the bi-partisan  HB 123, which seeks to establish a maximum interest rate on such loans of 28% plus a maximum monthly fee of $20. Coffman pointed out that in 2008, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of payday lending reforms. “Since then, payday lenders have by-passed the will of the people and state law and are charging even higher prices,” he said. “That’s unacceptable, and we are certain Ohio voters will agree if legislators themselves don’t move quickly on reform.” View Nate on the  The State of Ohio show (12-minute mark) and  In Focus. Check out more coverage from the Columbus Dispatch, Plain Dealer, Dayton Daily News, WHIO, and WKSU.

The coalition would like to thank the many OCDCA members that collected signatures during a short window of time.

The coalition will be in touch soon with a call for volunteers for the second phase of signatures.

 

Read the whole newsletter or subscribe to it!

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Sign here for increased community development and housing resources

We all know that there is tremendous unmet need in the state for community development funding and for housing that low-income people can afford.

However, there is good news: Congress’s recent bipartisan budget agreement is the first opportunity in many years to get increased federal funding for community development and affordable housing.

President Trump’s new budget is a bad start, but it’s just symbolic. The fact is, Congress just lifted austere spending caps that have starved HUD programs for years.

The bill adds $131 billion in domestic non-defense spending for the next two fiscal years, and now they need to figure out how to spend it.

While Trump’s budget would add only $2 billion of that new money to HUD (for an overall 14% cut), we know that increased funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investments Partnership program (HOME), rental assistance, and the National Housing Trust Fund would go a long way to alleviating resource scarcity and the affordability crisis.

But we need to let our members of Congress know these programs really work.

The first step is to add your organization to this sign-on letter asking Ohio’s congressional delegation to support increased funding for HUD programs.

After you sign the letter, we’ll get in touch when the time comes to call your members of Congress to let them know how important these federal community development and housing programs are to their constituents.

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Opportunity zone census tract submission – due next week

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new class of community investment vehicles through the Opportunity Zones Program, which aims to drive long-term capital into distressed communities by providing tax benefits on investments in Opportunity Funds (O Funds), which allow investors to pool and deploy their resources in low-income census tracts.

The state will be submitting up to 25% of Ohio’s low-income census tracts for program inclusion in the coming weeks. Please find below a notice from the Ohio Developments Services Agency (ODSA) Assistant Director Matt Peters on how to request your census tracts to be included.

In the recently passed federal tax bill, states have been asked to identify census tracts that may been from a new federal tax incentive program known as Opportunity Zones. The state of Ohio can nominate up to 319 qualified low-income census tracts.

States nominate census tracts to the U.S. Treasury, which will make the final determination. We have set up a page for online submission of census tracts to be considered for recommendation to the U.S. Treasury. The State of Ohio will accept submissions through 4pm on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Below is the link to both the submission site as well as a map of census tracts identified by the state that would qualify for nomination. Please provide your contact information and identify the census tract by number, as well as a brief narrative about economic activity; current or committed, in the tract. If you submit more than one tract, please provide information for each individual tract. If you submit more than one tract, you will be asked to prioritize your nominations.

To submit census tracts.

To view our map.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Matt Peters
Assistant Director
Director’s Office
614.466.8737

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CDC Impact: Food Access

Over the last few years, Ohio CDC Association (OCDCA) has been working hard to quantify the impact of CDCs throughout Ohio. We’ve been collecting and analyzing data from our member organizations and are excited to share our findings – especially in digestible bits.

We are pleased to state that, each year, over one million people benefit from the work of Ohio’s CDCs.

In this final week looking at our five community development “buckets,” we discuss food access. A little over two-thirds of OCDCA members offer food access programs.

According to a 2015-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report, 16.9 percent of Ohio households have struggled with food insecurity, which is well above the national average of 5.6, and sixth worst in the nation. Additionally, this same report indicates that 7.5 percent of Ohioans have struggled with very low food security, which is the third worst in the nation. Likewise, the Ohio State University Food Innovation Center found that 17.3 percent of Ohio’s population is food insecure.

Did you know that, in 2016, Ohio CDCs:

  • Connected over 131,000 Ohioans to CDC food programs, including farmer’s markets, healthy food initiatives, and community gardening;
  • Invested more than $2,600,000 in food access programs to ensure low-income communities gain access to fresh and healthy foods;
  • Supported nearly 325 community gardens and 60 farmer’s markets.

Ohio CDC Association members accomplish these things using many strategies. One long-standing strategy is in Appalachia.

Southeast Ohio faces many challenges with getting fresh, healthy food to its residents. Despite the relative abundance of farmland, acquiring fresh fruit and vegetables is difficult because of the region’s remoteness from urban centers where most produce is sent. Distribution is not guaranteed to be profitable because of lower populations, so how does one attract a distribution network to the area?

In the early 2000s, an auction market formed in Southeast Ohio to allow the local Mennonite community a convenient outlet to sell their produce production. The auction format has little overhead compared to a more typical market, and the spectacle of the event involves more of the surrounding communities. An OCDCA member now operates this food hub which simultaneously combats food access issues in southeast Ohio and strengthens the community ties.

From produce auctions to corner stores and vacant lots converted to gardens, Ohio CDCs are tackling food insecurity head-on. We are so proud and grateful for all of their tireless work!

 

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Nate Coffman on In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer

Yesterday, our executive director, Nate Coffman was on In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer to talk about Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform and the statewide citizens initiative to get a ballot measure in November combating predatory lending in Ohio. 

Payday loans in Ohio are the most expensive in the nation, with an astounding typical annual percentage rate (APR) of 591%.

Ten years ago, Ohioans voted by a nearly 2:1 margin to implement reasonable reform to the payday lending industry, but that language had a loophole, which allowed the predatory lending industry to go unchecked in Ohio.

On a federal level, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is continuing to drop cases regarding outrageous practices of payday lenders. That is why we need real reform now.

Watch the nearly eight minute video.