Status on Community Choice Electrical Aggregation

You might have wondered whatever happened with the Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) that passed on November 6, 2020. You may also be receiving letters and other communications asking you to sign up for an electricity contract and wonder if you should. Here is a general idea of the status of CCA and how it will affect you and your electricity choices.

If you are an individual or small business in Columbus, you are eligible for CCA, unless you are already on Columbus power. The City is currently in negotiations to finalize a contract with their preferred supplier, AEP. After that, legislation to approve the final master supply contract will be passed by City Council. Once that is complete, opt-out letters which include details about the program, including rates, will be sent to eligible individuals and small businesses who then have 21 days to opt-out or they will be enrolled in the CCA program. If you have a contract with an electricity supplier, you may not receive an opt-out letter and will need to opt-in at a later date. Opt-out letters are estimated to be sent in May and the program should begin in June.

The above is based on a very good page detailing the process and the FAQs. The CCA Advisory Group has their meetings posted. The most recent Advisory Group meeting was Thursday, February 18th and the next will be in April. They are open to the public.

NWCA will try to schedule someone from the City later in the year to provide more detail and answer questions.

IMPACT Hope Fund Rental Assistance is Back Open

As of Monday, February 8, 2021, HOPE Fund Rental Assistance is back open. Please carefully read the eligibility requirements below.  

Eligibility: In order to receive financial assistance through the IMPACT HOPE Fund, tenants must meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid lease agreement in their name and occupying the unit at time of application.
  • The household’s total rent payment is at or below 200% Fair Market Rate.
  • The household’s total gross income is equal to or less than 80% Area Median Income for location.
    • 60% of the funding will be targeted to households at 50% AMI and below or $42,100 for a family of four.
    • The remaining 40% will be available to households at 80% AMI or $67,360 for a family of four).
  • The household has experienced a financial hardship due (directly or indirectly) to COVID-19, for example:
    • Tenant has been laid off.
    • Tenant’s place of employment has closed.
    • Tenant has experienced a reduction in hours of work.
    • Tenant must stay home to care for children due to closure of day care and/or school.
    • Tenant must stay home to care for children due to distance learning.
    • Tenant has lost child or spousal support.
  • Tenant has had an increase in expenses due to COVID-19, i.e. child care, medical bills, etc.
  • Tenant has been unable to find employment due to COVID-19.
  • Tenant is unwilling or unable to participate in their previous employment due their high risk of severe illness fromCOVID-19.
  • The household cannot receive rental assistance from any other source, including, but not limited to federal (including Housing Choice Voucher), state and local rental assistance programs, for the same period of time Rent Relief Program is requested.

Required Documentation:

  • Proof of income (pay stubs, bank statements, letter from employer, social security documents, pension).
  • Must include at least the two months prior to the submission of the application for assistance.
  • Valid lease or other documentation of landlord-tenant relationship.
  • Rent ledger.
  • Completed Application and Agreements.
  • Landlord W9.  

Resources: HUD definition of Annual Income — Click here to learn more.   To apply, visit impacthopefund.org today.

Columbus Metropolitan Libraries to Open for Limited Services on February 8th

Most Columbus Metropolitan Libraries locations will be open for Limited Services starting Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. The New Albany Branch is open for Drive-Up Pickup only during its renovation, which should wrap up in March. And the Marion-Franklin Branch, which has been closed for all services, will reopen with limited weekday hours.

As a reminder, with LIMITED SERVICES, you can enter the building to: 

Browse the shelves to pick out your items.
Pick up items on hold.
Get Grab & Go Books.
Return items.
Use a computer (60-minute limit).
Reserve a table.
Print, copy, scan and fax.
Get in-person Job Help and Homework Help at limited locations.

Find details here about how Limited Services work, plus frequently asked questions. Curbside Pickup and Walk-Up Services will still be available.

NOTE: Face coverings must be worn to enter any library locations, as required by Gov. Mike DeWine.

Remember: You can always visit columbuslibrary.org 24/7 for trusted information about COVID-19 and free access to digital resources. You can also contact us by email, phone and live chat. Plus, you can Reserve an Expert to get the one-on-one help you need. Get help for students with the Online K-12 Homework Help. Be sure to follow the Columbus Metropolitan Library on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Hayden Run Road over the Scioto River

A public meeting will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 6:00 pm to discuss the proposed improvement of Hayden Run Road over the Scioto River.

The meeting will be held virtually with a formal presentation. Personnel representing the Franklin County Engineer’s Office will be available to discuss the proposed improvements and any concerns you may have. Register here.

Following the presentation, a question and answer session will be held. Everyone will have the opportunity to express their views.

Reimagining Public Safety Town Halls

[Columbus, OH] Today, City Council announced a series of town hall discussions to gain further insight into reimagining safety in the capital City. Each forum features subject-matter experts leading the conversation and opportunities for public dialogue.

“These town halls are designed to hear from national subject-matter experts as well as local residents who are experts on our City and what will keep them safe,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “In 2020, we saw the deadliest year on record when it comes to homicides in Columbus. We saw two unarmed residents gunned down by law enforcement in December. Council is committed to pushing forward an operating budget that reimagines safety.”

In 2020, Council began the initial phase of reform with the passage of a comprehensive legislative safety package, which included independent investigations into lethal force, demilitarization of police, limiting no-knock raids and instituting background checks for hate-group affiliation. This series continues the ongoing deliberations of the City’s Operating Budget.

Each session focuses on one of the three pillars, which are the backbone of Council’s efforts moving forward to reimagining safety. They are investing in accountability and a better Division of Police, establishing alternative crisis response models and investing in violence prevention. 

“Achieving real change that protects the safety of every person in our city will take fierce dedication and the willpower of all of us working together,” said President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown. “These town halls will help direct our efforts as we continue working to reimagine public safety through the operating budget and other city programs. We have heard the calls from across our city that the status quo is unacceptable, and it is our duty as elected officials to respond.”

Any resident seeking to provide written or live testimony via WebEx during the virtual hearing must submit their intention using the following LINK HERE. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event. Ten speakers will be heard per town hall, with remarks limited to three minutes or less. There will be audience engagement activities during the town hall events. 

  • Wednesday, January 13, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Establishing Alternative Public Safety Crisis Response, led by Council President Shannon G. Hardin
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 969 1521
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Violence Prevention, led by Councilmember Mitchell J. Brown
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 507 9073
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Accountability and a Better Division of Police, led by Councilmember Rob Dorans
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 774 8384
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Establishing Alternative Public Safety Crisis Response, led by Councilmember Shayla Favor
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 419 5906
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 4pm
    Investing in Violence Prevention, led by President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 151 7461
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.
  • Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 5:30pm
    Investing in Accountability and a Better Division of Police, hosted by Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy
    • Attend via WebEx  –  Password: 12345
    • By Phone: 1-650-479-3207, Access code: 180 405 0178
    • CLICK HERE to provide testimony via WebEx during the town hall. Requests must be entered by noon on the day of the event.


The town halls will be streamed on Council’s Facebook page and the City of Columbus YouTube channel

Invitation

The City of Columbus is interested in our community’s opinion on their draft Climate Action Plan. They want to understand the potential positive and negative consequences of these actions on our neighborhood.

These are intended to be small groups of about 10 people to encourage a robust discussion. If you are interested in participating in such a discussion, email northwestcivic@gmail.com.

I will be facilitating one or more of these sometime in January depending on response. You would not be committed until there are dates and times.

Please also pass this invitation on to anyone in the Northwest area who might be interested. These conversations will be happening in other neighborhoods as well.

Cheryl Grossman, President NWCA

Announcement on Formation of Civilian Review Board

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, along with City Council President Shannon J. Hardin, accepted the recommendations from the Civilian Review Board Work Group. The Work Group was charged with developing the framework for a Civilian Police Review Board to provide oversight of the Columbus Division of Police. In November, Columbus voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the city charter to establish a civilian police review board and Inspector General for the Division of Police.

“Columbus is the only major metropolitan area without any kind of civilian oversight of law enforcement, which continues to erode trust between the community and police,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “With the passage of Issue 2 in November and the recommendations from the Work Group, we are well positioned to make it a reality in 2021.”

“Rebuilding trust and improving accountability in the Division of Police is a critical component to reimagining safety in Columbus,” said Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “Council appreciates the Civilian Review Working Group for providing recommendations on structural questions for how the Review Board should operate. Council will engage in a deliberative process to review these recommendations and work with Mayor Ginther to stand up the Civilian Review Board in 2021.”

The work group comprised of community members representing diverse backgrounds, experiences, ages, races and skill sets worked for several months to review best practices from other cities and to recommend what would work best for Columbus. Their recommendations include:

  • A nine-member Civilian Review Board, with staggered three-year terms
  • Board appointments by Mayor Ginther in consultation with Columbus City Council
  • Board diversity in race, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, and a majority of its members must live in the city of Columbus.
  • Board will receive ongoing training in police tactics, constitutional law, de-escalation, implicit bias, and other important subject matters
  • The Board should be given broad investigative powers, including subpoena powers.
  • The minimum qualifications for the new inspector general will be set by the board.

Applications for the Civilian Review Board are being accepted now through Jan. 15, 2021.

Rental/Mortgage/Utilities Help

Central Ohio community has been deeply impacted by COVID 19 and IMPACT Community Action has served as an essential service to many with emergency needs.  Thanks to generous funding from the City of Columbus and other Hope Fund partners; IMPACT has distributed over $5.5 Million to 2,040 residents to assist them in maintaining their housing. If people applied before October 2nd, we continue to work with partner agencies to get applications processed on our 1st round of Hope Funds. 

Governor Mike DeWine announced the Development Services Agency has provided additional assistance to Ohioans with rent, water or sewer. The additional funding from the Home Relief Fund will help with outstanding rent or mortgages, water shutoff or to avoid foreclosure or eviction.  Those in need APPLY HEREIMPACT Community Action is one of 48 Community Action Agencies to receive funding. Franklin County households behind on bills and are at or below 200% of the federal poverty line will be eligible for aid, for a family of four that is an annual income of $52,400. 

In order to keep our clients safe, we have gone live with an online portal TODAY to allow clients to see if they qualify through a questionnaire; where we will capture name, email, phone, and requested assistance amounts for rent, mortgage, water, and fees.

After that, applicants will receive a wait list number and a message letting them know we will notify them when the portal is open and ready to accept their application. We encourage applicants to gather materials needed to apply before November 9th and to contact their landlord to ensure they know our team will be reaching out.