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Ohio could have a housing ally

Ohio is not alone in its need to solve the problem of lack of affordable, quality housing for its residents.

But it may now have a national ally in that effort. Marcia Fudge, who had represented the Cleveland area in the House of Representatives, has left her seat in Congress after having been confirmed as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Biden administration.

“My first priority as secretary would be to alleviate that crisis and get people the support they need to come back from the edge,” she said in January.

Among her ideas for doing so is the extension of an eviction moratorium put in place at the start of the pandemic, $25 billion in rental assistance from Congress and the construction of 1.5 million energy-efficient affordable housing units.

It will be important for landlords to have some discretion when it comes to evictions, given the difference between tenants who truly cannot pay as a result of economic challenges brought on by the pandemic, and those who simply won’t pay. Landlords also will need some assurance they will be protected as their own revenue streams dwindle.

Fudge is right to call for “compassion and resolve” as she hopes to tackle the homelessness problem, and to be on the march against discriminatory practices in the housing market.

She must add to her list, then, the effort to weed out fraud, waste and bad behavior by those who receive HUD funding for projects at the local and state levels.

Hers must not be an administration that throws money at problems with no regard for whether that money is achieving results for the people her agency is meant to help.

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