513 Relief

The Bus is back! The new 513Relief Bus has officially hit the streets.

Get Relief Now

513Relief.org is a one-stop resource providing Hamilton County residents direct access to economic relief. 

Hamilton County Commissioners launched 513Relief.org at the height of the pandemic to connect residents with the various federal, state and local programs designed to help families find stability in challenging times. To ensure access to these resources in every community, Commissioners introduced the 513Relief Bus; click here for more information on the bus tour schedule.

513 Relief

Access the support you need

We have created this website to serve as a gateway to relief options available to Hamilton County residents impacted by Covid-19. Together with our partners, we resolve to make community support known and swiftly provided to those in need.

Hamilton County Commissioners

Alicia Reece, President
Denise Driehaus, Vice President
Stephanie Summerow Dumas

513 Relief Alerts

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Click here to sign up for text alerts for the 513Relief Bus and other 513Relief programs.


513 Relief News

513 Relief News

New 513 Relief Bus Hits the Streets

Hamilton County’s New 513Relief Bus Brings Mobile Services Directly to Neighborhoods

County Commissioners cut the ribbon on the new bus Thursday, Jan. 26 at Corinthian Baptist Church, 1920 Tennessee Avenue. Residents immediately started using the services the bus provides, including health screenings, help applying for public assistance, support for older adults and caregivers, employment connections, financial literacy, career styling, mental health and substance abuse referrals and Covid-19 vaccinations.

Working together, Hamilton County departments and other partner agencies are proactively reaching as many residents as possible with a wide variety of services. The 513Relief Bus removes barriers that might keep residents from seeking help, including accessibility, transportation and technology.

Commission President Alicia Reece invites the whole community to the new bus stops.

“We helped over 4,000 people with our pilot bus in 2021,” said President Reece. “Today, we are announcing the new permanent tech bus that allows Hamilton County to go mobile countywide with health and economic services to help residents. We are using technology to deliver services in what has become a national model.”

“At the onset of the pandemic, we quickly learned there are numerous residents of our county who are hard to reach in traditional ways,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “This gives us the ability to engage people in their own community in a proactive way.” Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas said she’s excited about bringing resources directly to people.

“We can’t expect them to find us,” she said. “We are bringing help to them. That’s important because it shifts the perception away from being just a number to face-to-face interactions that hopefully lead to meaningful support.”

Before the new bus, the county borrowed a bus from UC Health. That bus already helped more than 4,000 people with relief and vaccinations. It visited 28 zip codes in 2021 and took applications for rent, utility and mortgage relief from people living in 50 zip codes.

Introduced by Commissioner Reece and unanimously supported by the board of commissioners, the bus idea was adopted with the support of local civil rights and grassroots leaders, who suggested a one-stop bus to fight Covid-19 and other health and economic disparities.

County Departments that are participating include:

  • Hamilton County Job and Family Services
  • Hamilton County Office of Reentry
  • Hamilton County Public Health
  • Hamilton County Community, Outreach, Recovery and Engagement Program (CORE)

Other organizations participating include:

  • Council on Aging
  • Dress for Success
  • Your Priority Healthcare
  • UC Health
  • Urban League
  • Addition Services Council
  • Talbert House

For more information and the bus schedule, please see 513Relief.org/bus.

Hamilton County Restarts Rent & Utility Program

Commissioners Announce $12 Million In Covid-19 Federal Aid To Help Families Avoid Eviction And Keep The Lights On

Hamilton County Commissioners voted to accept $12 million in federal emergency rent and utility relief funding that will effectively relaunch the program that was paused in July as the County awaited additional funding. Starting Monday, November 21, Hamilton County Job and Family Services will accept applications from County renters through 513Relief.org. The County will pay up to 15 months rent (12 past due and three future) and utilities for eligible renters at or below 80% of the Area Median Income who experienced a financial impact due to COVID.

The County expects to help between 3,000 and 3,500 households with this new round of funding. As of September 2022, the County had distributed $44.9 million in emergency rental and utility assistance to thousands of Hamilton County renters.

“Hamilton County has done a great job getting these federal dollars to the people who need them the most. We’ve already helped over 12,000 households keep the lights on and pay their rent,” said Commission President Stephanie Summerow. “Our job is not done. Families are still struggling to pay the bills with inflation, higher fuel costs and lost income due to the pandemic.”

“The pandemic has not gone away. Families still need help with inflation, high gas prices, skyrocketing prescription drug costs on top of lost income,” said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece. “We’ve made our Rent and Utility program as easy as possible. Residents can apply on cell phones, the paperwork has been streamlined, and access to the County’s programs are all on one convenient website- 513Relief.org.”

“With winter weather upon us, we know some Hamilton County residents are struggling to heat their homes and pay the rent,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “Thanks to our partners at the federal level, help is available.”


Hamilton County Rent & Utility Relief Income Eligibility
Number of People in Household Max Income 80% of Area Median Income
1 $47,850
2 $54,650
3 $61,500
4 $68,300
5 $73,800
6 $79,250
Hamilton County Rent & Utility Relief Income Eligibility
Number of People in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6
Max Income 80% of Area Median Income $47,850 $54,650 $61,500 $68,300 $73,800 $79,250

The Hamilton County Rent and Utility Program’s application is easy to use and can be submitted on a smart phone by visiting 513Relief.org – the County’s COVID-relief website. To apply, applicants need the following four items: 1) Current and/or past-due household bills such as rent and/or utility bills, 2) income verifications for the past 30 days (e.g. paystubs), 3) COVID-19 financial impact details (how did you suffer a financial loss due to the pandemic? Ex. lost job), 4) landlord vendor registration (checks are made out to the landlord directly).

The application portal will open on Monday, November 21st at 9am. Applications will be processed in the order received. Applicants will be contacted by staff to submit additional information or documents if needed. Applications are expected to be processed within 30 days however due to the end-of-year reconciliations, payments will likely be distributed in the new year. Applicants who already received the full 15 months of rent assistance are no longer eligible to receive these funds.

Applicants who experience barriers when submitting the online application, can seek help from the United Way of Greater Cincinnati Care Coordination team. Individuals 60+ or individuals who do not have internet access or access to a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, can call 211 and request to speak to a Care Coordinator or text 211CARES to 51555 to see if United Way 211 can help.

What About Homeowners?

The State of Ohio has a robust mortgage and utility assistance called Save the Dream that provides eligible Ohio homeowners with financial assistance to pay delinquent mortgage payments and/or future mortgage payments for up to six months. While the amount of assistance may vary by household, a household may receive up to a combined $25,000 in mortgage assistance.

There is no cost to apply for the program. To qualify for Save the Dream Ohio, a household must have their primary residence in Ohio, have experienced financial hardship or loss of income related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have an income at or below the Save the Dream Ohio income eligibility threshold (see chart below).

Save the Dream Ohio Income Eligibility
Number of People in Household Max Income 150% of Area Median Income
1 $103,350
2 $118,200
3 $132,900
4 $147,600
5 $159,450
6 $171,300
Save the Dream Ohio Income Eligibility
Number of People in Household 1 2 3 4 5 6
Max Income 150% of Area Median Income $103,350 $118,200 $132,900 $147,600 $159,450 $171,300

For those who do not qualify for the state’s program, Hamilton County Commissioners have set aside money in their American Rescue Plan allocation for homeowners to keep them from foreclosure. Details on both the state and county programs can be found at 513Relief.org/mortgage.

County Adds New Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

Hamilton County Partners with Ethos Laboratories to Launch New No-Cost COVID-19 Community Testing Sites

As new COVID-19 cases are increasing again, Hamilton County Commissioners are announcing the launch of three new COVID-19 community testing sites. These new Test and Protect locations will provide COVID-19 testing for Hamilton County residents on a zero-out-of-pocket cost, walk-up basis. Newport-based Ethos Laboratories, which has provided diagnostic services to local schools, nursing facilities, city governments, performance venues, and others throughout the pandemic, was selected in a competitive process by the County to administer the $1.2 million program using American Rescue Act Plan Funding.

“COVID-19 is still with us, testing is a big part of the solution,” said Stephanie Summerow Dumas, President of the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners. “As the federal programs paying for some testing and vaccinations are coming to an end, Hamilton County continues to provide free testing and free vaccinations through Hamilton County Public Health, for those who are uninsured.”

“We want to make sure citizens in Hamilton County have access to free COVID testing with our locations listed on TestandProtectCincy.com,” said Commissioner Alicia Reece. “Hamilton County has been forward-thinking in providing robust community testing and with federal options dropping off, Hamilton County is once again filling the gap.”

“We need to test more in order to keep hospital visits down,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “These new community testing sites allow the County to ensure that critical testing resources continue to be available to residents in convenient locations at no-cost.”

The three new community testing sites include:

Quinn Chapel Forest Park
10998 Southland Road
Forest Park, Ohio
Hours: Monday through Friday, from 9:00am to 5:00pm

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s Price Hill Branch
970 Purcell Ave
Cincinnati, OH 45205
Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 10:00am to 6:00pm

Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s Corryville Branch
2802 Short Vine St.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219
Hours: Thursday and Friday from 10:00am to 6:00pm

The three new sites build off of a successful TestandProtectCincy.com campaign that tested over 65,000 people in 2020 and 2021.

County officials stressed that while protection from vaccinations and from prior infections have reduced both the severity and prevalence of new COVID-19 infections, further efforts are needed to stay ahead of the virus. Newly emerging coronavirus strains— including the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 sub-variant that now accounts for over 85% of all new infections nationwide— are being monitored by public health experts with extreme vigilance.

“We’re thrilled that Hamilton County has chosen to partner with Ethos on these new testing sites,” said Ethos Laboratories CEO Brian Kincaid. “We’re going to be here, standing with the County and the Greater Cincinnati community until this pandemic is finished once and for all.”

About Ethos Laboratories

Ethos Laboratories is a clinical diagnostic laboratory located in Newport, Kentucky, dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering with pain, providing personalized diagnostic services through cutting-edge testing and continuous innovation. The company focuses on providing excellent quality, service, and support for every customer, and the highest standards for accuracy and efficiency. The laboratory has created innovative tools, resources, and processes that have improved provider insight into sources of pain, increased understanding of medication compliance and management, and fuels the pursuit of continuous improvement including launching a telehealth integration platform.


Hamilton County is assessing its broadband internet needs for families and businesses to help guide the investment of $10 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds.

Hamilton County Commissioners are asking for public input through the Hamilton County Broadband Survey to help map accessibility, reliability, and affordability of the internet countywide.

The Hamilton County Broadband Survey is a critical part of a broader effort to connect every household, school, organization, and business equitably after the pandemic showed gaping disparities in reliable, high-quality internet access in both urban and rural communities.

The more people who fill out the survey, the better the data will be to inform both the critical infrastructure improvements as well as investments in our community’s ability to learn and thrive.

Please take 20 minutes to complete the survey – we know your time is valuable and your investment in completing the survey will help Hamilton County use the information to provide more reliable and affordable internet to Hamilton County residents.

Arts and Culture Grants Program Launched

Hamilton County Commissioners and ArtsWave announce COVID relief grants for Hard-hit Arts and Cultural Nonprofits

January 27, 2022 – Hamilton County has teamed up with ArtsWave, the engine for the region’s arts, to announce that it will award $2 million in nonprofit arts and cultural grants funded through the County’s allocation of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars. The grants will be awarded to combat the negative economic of COVID-19 on the local arts community and to fuel the region’s economic restart. Links to the applications and funding guidelines are available on the County’s Covid relief site – https://513relief.org/ and https://www.artswave.org/apply.

The Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Relief Program will cover costs of necessary expenditures incurred by Hamilton County arts and culture organizations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2022. All interested applicants must submit their materials through ArtsWave’s website (artswave.org/apply) by 5:00 pm on February 15, 2022. Review of applications will begin immediately, and grant recipients will be notified in March by ArtsWave.

ArtsWave will host a virtual information session on Wednesday, February 3, 2022, from 12:00-1:00 p.m. answering questions and outlining the eligibility and application process. To join the information session, visit artswave.org/apply and click on “Hamilton County ARP Arts and Culture Grants Information Session.”

“We know that a stronger arts and cultural environment means a stronger Hamilton County,” said Commission President Stephanie Summerow Dumas. “This industry has been decimated financially by the pandemic and we wanted to make sure that we take care of the people and organizations that make us so vibrant.”

“We are One Hamilton County and that means taking care of everyone-our neighbors, our small businesses and our arts and cultural organizations,” said Commission Vice President Alicia Reece.  “Our creative community has helped us get through the pandemic with their innovation, art and song; it is time we support their recovery.”

“At a time when many of these organizations had to scale back and use their creativity to connect us all, we want them to know, we are with you, we support you,” said Commissioner Denise Driehaus. “We need you to recover so that Hamilton County can continue to innovate, create and shine as a community.”

The arts in the Cincinnati region have an economic impact of $300 million annually and employ 10,000+ people. Losses of more than $140 million in revenue have occurred since the pandemic began. The arts were one of the first local industries to be affected by the virus and they’re projected to be the last to fully recover.

The COVID-19 relief grants will cover costs incurred due to business disruption, in a two-year period in which performing arts venues and museums lost significant box office and admissions revenue. The grants can also cover costs of mitigation expenses for re-opening and adaptations required for digital programming. Total grant amounts will be based on operating revenue from the prior fiscal year.

“Arts organizations typically derive between half and two-thirds of their annual operating budgets from earned income sources like ticket sales, sponsorships and contracts,” said Alecia Kintner, ArtsWave President & CEO. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for arts organizations that, like any other industry, have fixed costs and valuable employees. Relief from Hamilton County from the CARES Act funding and now the ARP, combined with City of Cincinnati relief efforts and three years of ArtsWave Campaigns funded by the community has allowed our arts to make it through this time, so that we can say, “Live Arts Are Back.” Thank you, Hamilton County, City of Cincinnati and ArtsWave donors for helping our region rebuild itself through the arts.”

513Relief Bus Is Headed Your Way

The 513Relief Bus Brings Resources to Those Who Need Them

Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners recognizes the need to deliver social services, including no-cost COVID-19 vaccinations, to Hamilton County neighborhoods. The Hamilton County 513Relief Bus (the Hamilton County Equity and Resources Mobile Tech Bus) will provide those resources directly to those who need it most.

NO COST Resources:

  • COVID-19 Vaccinations by the UC Health
  • HCJFS is providing information, direct assistance and/or on-sight applications for:
    • Cash
    • Food
    • Medicaid
    • Rent and Utility Help
    • Workforce Development
    • Child Support / Child Care


Have questions? Contact us.

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