- Committee issues 37 recommendations to equitably address impacts of the pandemic, foster resiliency
Columbus, Ohio Community leaders have issued the recommendations of a yearlong effort to build a roadmap for an equitable community recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The final report of the Recovery and Resiliency Advisory Committee outlined 37 opportunities for the city, the public sector, nonprofits, and private sector partners to address inequities in health, jobs, housing, and digital connectivity to promote systemic community change.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and further widened our community’s existing underlying inequities,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.
“No single entity can address all the challenges we face, but this committee has developed a framework for continued community collaboration and investment that will improve quality of life, particularly among our most vulnerable residents.”
The work of the 39-member committee was informed by data that clearly showed that prior to and throughout the pandemic, all major points of community instability fell disproportionately on people of color and women.
The report recommends intentional, equitable investments in these communities to establish an economic base that provides for all residents, which will enable the community to better weather future crises.
The final report contains recommendations in three categories:
Support: Short-term critical needs such as housing, food security and human service infrastructure.
Readiness: Mid-term stabilization needs, with a focus on digital inclusion, childcare, workforce, and higher education.
Development: Long-range topics of community and economic development.
“The pandemic laid bare many of our community’s needs, and these recommendations are meant to be a strategic framework to address certain systems, services and programs that need attention and investment now for an equitable recovery,” said Christie Angel, president, and CEO of YWCA, who chaired the committee.
“This is an opportunity to join together to create a better future for the residents and businesses of Columbus and Franklin County.”
“I appreciate the hard work of the committee members to identify action-oriented community goals,” said Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin, committee co-chair.
“This moment is a time to do big things for and with working families in Columbus.”
Community leaders have already taken initial action on several of the report’s recommendations. In support of recommended improvements to equitable and accessible community child care infrastructure, Columbus State Community College today also announced the future rollout of no-cost education training access for Childcare Development Associate credentialing for child care workers, the creation of a regional child care employer hiring placement center, and plans for a multi-million dollar downtown campus child care center and educator innovation learning lab funded by the college’s voter-approved Franklin County bond issue.
Other investments and commitments already initiated include:
The City of Columbus, Franklin County and the State of Ohio have together distributed more than $50 million in utility and rental assistance to 25,170 central Ohio tenants (Recovery and Resiliency recommendation #6).
The City of Columbus announced the Stable Housing Initiative, which funds rental assistance, supportive services and targeted outreach to hard-to-reach Columbus residents who have not yet accessed the emergency rental assistance available to them (Recovery and Resiliency recommendation #7).
The City of Columbus committed $500,000 in American Rescue Plan dollars to fund 500 one-time $1,000 signing bonuses to help childcare centers recruit new teachers or rehire those who previously left the labor market (Recovery and Resiliency recommendation #23).
The City of Columbus dedicated $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds for 250 childcare scholarships of up to $10,000 for low-income families earning too much to qualify for state subsides (Recovery and Resiliency recommendation #31).
“This was an intensive process, and the recommendations are the result of months of work by leaders throughout the community,” said Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady, co-chair of the committee.
“Just as the community developed the recommendations, the community will play a crucial role in collaboratively implementing and championing these important policies.”