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 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-”

“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 – 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