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$12.5 million coming to Hamilton County for rent and utility assistance

a side view of a white light switch in the "on" position
Steve Johnson

Millions of dollars in rent and utility assistance is headed to Hamilton County. Ohio officials recently awarded the county $12.5 million, which must be spent by the end of the year.

Hamilton County commissioners approved the extra funding last week. It comes from the state re-allocating federal funds.

County Administrator Jeff Aluotto says the money is in addition to the millions already spent on rent assistance.

"We know that we're burning through a pretty high amount per week on this program, so we don't want there to be any break if there doesn't have to be to pause," he says. "So the quicker that the federal government sends us these dollars, the quicker we will be able to spend now that we have the appropriation set up."

Anyone who’s had income loss due to COVID can apply for up to 15 months of rent and utility aid. If you’ve already been approved for some assistance, you could be eligible for more.

"An individual who has had an income loss due to COVID can apply for 12 months of eligibility, post-eligibility, and then three months ahead, paid ahead. So 15 months total," explains Job and Family Services Director Michael Patton.

More than 10,000 families have been helped through the program, not counting the previous money from the CARES Act. More than a thousand new applications came in just in the month of June. The Community Action Agency, which is managing Cincinnati’s rental assistance program, is getting up to 700 calls a day.

Patton says the county is also applying for another $40 million from the federal Emergency Rent Assistance program. That money could be spent through the end of 2024.

How to apply and learn more

  • Online at (smartphone friendly)
  • Visit the 513 Relief mobile help center (view the route online)
  • Call 211 to talk to a navigator who can guide you through the application
  • Text 211CARES to 51555
Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.