Read about our work by clicking on headings below.
- In Franklin County, there are over 50,000 low-income families spending ½ or more of their paycheck on housing! This includes renters and homeowners. (Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio). It also includes grandparents, aunts and uncles who have stepped up, opened their houses and are raising their young relatives with little or no financial support.
- In 2021, a worker in Franklin County needs to earn $19.83 per hour in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment (Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio).
- In 2017, the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio projected that meeting the housing needs of half of the 54,000 low-income families struggling to afford housing would cost $835 million.
- Only 25% of families eligible for rental assistance receive it in Franklin County. The Columbus City Council’s tax policy incentive change for affordable housing through tax incentives to developers does not impact the most needy families. (Move to Prosper)
- There were 18,441 eviction filings with Franklin County Municipal Court in 2015. This compares to about 12,000 in Cleveland and 22,000 in New York City (Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio). Even with the Franklin County Courts limiting evictions last Spring and despite the federal moratorium, there were over 12,000 eviction filings in Franklin County from March 2020 – March 2021.
We pressed the Franklin County Commissioners to increase their affordable housing commitment. In 2019, they approved a resolution which would generate about $6.5 million of additional funding to affordable housing.
We want to see one-third of the American Rescue Plan dollars go to the Affordable Housing Trust, targeting families at or below 50% of the Area Median Income ($30,000 per year).
City of Columbus
- We want to see 30% of the American Rescue Plan dollars go to housing solutions, targeting families at or below 50% of the Area Median Income.
- We want Councilmember Favor to work with us on a housing plan that will require developers to set aside 20% of new housing for households making less than 50% of the Area Median Income ($30,000 per year).
The most severe impacts of climate change are hitting our most vulnerable neighbors the hardest. Certain zip codes are more likely to suffer from the effects of flooding, poor air quality and increased heat. Through our research we learned that:
- Of 60 major US cities, Columbus is the fastest growing and 8th largest urban heat island. Columbus can expect an additional 3-7 weeks of 90+ degree days by 2050. (Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center)
- Columbus is getting more and heavier rain, which increases the likelihood of flooding and poses significant risks to infrastructure and public health. The number of days per year that had more than 1.25 inches of rainfall increased by 75% from 1951 to 2012. (Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center)
- Columbus is currently ranked as the 13th worst place in the country to live with asthma, and days over 90 degrees are associated with dangerous ozone pollution levels that can trigger asthma attacks, heart attacks, and other serious health issues (Columbus Urban Forestry Master Plan).
- Columbus has less tree coverage than cities of comparable size and development, and 70% of our existing tree canopy is on privately owned land. Communities like Franklinton (15%), Milo Grogan (16%) and South Side (18%) are well below the city average. Columbus currently lacks any protections for trees on private property, which means developers can cut down any and all trees without needing approval, and without needing to replant elsewhere.
Image: Tree canopy coverage in Columbus compared to peer cities.
Beyond the obvious dangers posed by flooding, health experts have told us that flooding can be a major contributor to respiratory issues since mold and dust mites thrive in moist environments. These dangers are compounded by a lack of regulation on mold in homes as well as the high cost of remediation. If you are lower income, you are more likely to live close to highways, industry, and other areas with higher pollution, more pavement, and less tree coverage because they are the most affordable, all of which can trigger respiratory problems.
Our Solution: Protect our large, mature trees!
Urban forests are one of the most valuable forms of infrastructure a city can have! That is because trees absorb stormwater, filter pollutants from industries and highways, and reduce heat through shade and evaporation. Protecting our large, mature trees is critical because they can reduce summertime ambient air temperature by 20 degrees F, reduce street level air pollution by 60%, and absorb hundreds of millions of gallons of stormwater (Columbus Urban Forestry Master Plan).
Image: Table of tree canopy annual benefits in Columbus.
- The cooling effect of one healthy tree is equivalent to 10 room-sized air conditioners operating 20 hours a day (North Carolina State University 2012). The shade of properly-placed trees can save homeowners up to 58% on daytime air conditioning costs, while mobile homeowners can save up to 65% (Smith 1999)
- New York City saw a significant decrease of asthma in young children (-29%) after increasing its tree canopy through the installation of over 300 trees for each square kilometer (Lovasi et al. 2008).
- Curious what the tree canopy coverage is like in your neighborhood? Find out using the Columbus Urban Forestry Master Plan’s map.
At the 2022 Nehemiah Action, we asked city officials the following key questions:
- Will you commit to ensuring that the (Urban Forestry Master) plan is implemented with fidelity?
- Will you commit to ensuring that the public tree ordinance is introduced to City Council no later than February 1, 2023?
- Will you commit to having a consultant under contract to develop a private tree protection ordinance no later than June 1, 2023?
- Will you commit to convening quarterly meetings between BREAD, yourself, and appropriate staff so that we can discuss details of the ordinance and share our input?
One ID Columbus
BREAD is spearheading One ID Columbus, a coalition of 11 organizations pressing for a municipal ID program for the City of Columbus. We would like for this to be a city-led program; however, we’re also exploring the idea of having a local non-profit run the program instead.
A 2019 feasibility study commissioned by the Columbus City Council estimated that over 80,000 adult citizens in Columbus struggle to obtain and retain government-issued ID. Dozens of cities across the country including New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, and other cities have established municipal ID programs to solve this problem.
What is a municipal ID? It is a secure photo identification card designed, issued, and controlled by a local government for its residents.
Isn’t it the case that municipal ID’s really just benefit people who can’t get driver’s licenses or state ID?
- Properly designed municipal ID programs can provide significant new benefits to all residents, including those who already have other forms of photo ID. Examples include consolidating transit fare payments, library borrowing privileges, access to cultural centers, and business discounts into a single multipurpose card.
- Municipal IDs do not give holders driving privileges, they cannot be used for air travel, and they are only accepted within the boundaries of the city that issues them (though other jurisdictions, government agencies, and companies may choose to accept them).
- It would not affect immigration status or provide work authorization.
Status of our efforts: The Columbus City Council commissioned a feasibility study on the viability of a municipal ID program in 2019. The results were favorable yet the pandemic pushed the proposal to the back burner. We have been working to engage a new advocate on City Council since 2019.
We have commitments for funding from the local Episcopal Diocese to get the program off of the ground. We are in conversations with other potential funders.
For more information, visit: www.oneidcolumbus.org
Stop Violence, Build Trust!
Problem: Violent and Unfair Policing
- In Columbus, police made 84% more total stops per resident in neighborhoods that were at least 75% black than in neighborhoods that were at least 75% white.
- Use of force incidents by Columbus police show significant racial disparities: Black residents account for about half of use of force incidents between 2013 and 2019 even though Black residents make up only 28% of the city’s population (matrix report, commissioned by the Columbus Public Safety Commission).
- Franklin County has one of the highest rates of fatal police shootings in the US – it ranked 18th among the 100 most populous counties (Columbus Dispatch, 3/5/21).
- Franklin County has 1/5 of the state’s Black population, but accounts for 1/3 of deaths of African Americans shot by law enforcement in Ohio. Meanwhile Cuyahoga County (Cleveland), which is 25% Black, accounts for only 16% of African American fatally shot by law enforcement (Columbus Dispatch).
- Over two-thirds of people killed by Columbus Division of Police officers were black, while the city is, according to the US Census Bureau, only 29% black as a whole. That means that black people are being killed by police at a rate 39 percentage points higher than would be expected by their share of the Columbus population.
Problem: Violent Crime
- Columbus had more murders in 2020 and 2021 than any other year in history.
- 0.05% of the city’s population — many of them members of gangs or less-organized “groups” — were behind nearly half of the homicides analyzed during the first nine months of 2020 (National Network for Safe Communities Problem Analysis, April 2021).
- 17 gangs with about 480 members are behind nearly half of Columbus 2020 homicides (National Network for Safe Communities Problem Analysis, April 2021).
- Reconciliation: BREAD has seen how use of restorative practices in schools has replaced adversarial relationships and suspensions for behavioral issues with supportive environments for students and closer teacher-student relationships. The National Network for Safe Communities and others have established trust and legitimacy between police and communities they serve through such intentional efforts for reconciliation. This will open up communication between law enforcement and the community to allow for greater understanding between them and build trust, vital to changing police culture. For more information visit: https://nnscommunities.org/strategies/racial-reconciliation/
- Active Bystander Training for Police – A.B.L.E., Active Bystander Training for Law Enforcement, is an evidence-based training program for law enforcement from Georgetown U. Law School’s Innovative Policing Project. Too often, we see one police officer stand by and do nothing as his or her partner or another officer causes harm or makes a serious error. If implemented with fidelity, which includes regular follow-up, ABLE may bring about a change in police culture that supports bystander intervention. ABLE alone will not create the complete culture change needed; but if paired with other major changes, may make a difference.
- Reassigning Roles to Appropriate Personnel: In Eugene, Oregon, the city contracts with a mental health agency, CAHOOTS. When a 911 call involves a person with mental illness, CAHOOTS answers the call instead of the police. The contract has saved the police millions of dollars and has provided people with mental illness with treatment, instead of arrest, incarceration, or armed force. We challenge Columbus to work with us on developing models for using unarmed, trained personnel to respond to non-emergencies, including mental health and traffic stops.
- Group Violence Intervention: Group Violence Intervention (G.V.I.) is a “deterrence-focused” initiative to quickly and dramatically reduce gun violence and associated homicides. The initiative evolved from an initial project (Ceasefire) led by David Kennedy in Boston during the 1990’s. Although the details of implementation may vary, the basic structure involves a collaborative effort of law enforcement, social service agencies and community leaders. Together they deliver a clear message to violent street groups that violence must stop. Every initiative begins with an initial mapping of relationships of known violent offenders. Once established all partners come together to address violent groups with a unified voice through call-ins, direct contact, community outreach and media outlets delivering a message that the violence must stop. The message is followed with the promise, (the carrot) of a broad range of social services aimed at changing the behavior of criminal activity for those who opt to participate. When violence continues, however, the response is swift and strong prosecution at the federal level (the stick). For more information visit: https://nnscommunities.org/strategies/group-violence-intervention/
Our Juvenile Justice campaign has a two-prong approach to keep children in the classroom and out of the court system. In the Franklin County Juvenile Court, we pressed Judge Elizabeth Gill to strengthen the current Restorative Justice Program in the courts so that more youth benefit from this proven diversion program. In Columbus City Schools, we continue to push for Restorative Practices training in all schools so that ALL children have an alternative to suspension that builds relationships, teaches accountability, empathy, and repairs harm when it’s caused.
Franklin County Juvenile Court
BREAD decided to revisit Restorative Justice in the courts because, as we understood it, the results were not what we expected them to be in terms of both the number of circles established and the number of cases heard.
- Since Fall 2013, 130 youth have completed the Restorative Justice Program. The original projection from the courts was that they would see hundreds of kids each year.
- Restorative Justice Circle volunteers have told us that many of the cases they see are coming from disciplinary incidents in the schools.
- Judge Elizabeth Gill followed BREAD’s request to have the Restorative Justice Circle Program evaluated by an outside source- the International Institute for Restorative Practices. The evaluation gave recommendations to help improve the process and strengthen the circles.
- Thanks to this evaluation, changes were made to volunteer training. Judge Gill shared that the IIRP was so impressed with the program, they would like to publish it in their world-wide publication entitled: “Restorative Works.”
- He also believes that the work is so important that he offered a scholarship for IIRP training to the Deputy Director of Youth Education and Intervention Services.
- This is saving the courts and taxpayers thousands of dollars and ensuring that more children have an opportunity for diversion.
Columbus City Schools
- In the Columbus City Schools, our research shows that kids receive varying degrees of discipline when they are disruptive, insubordinate, and/or bully other kids. The discipline is inconsistent and likely ineffective in reducing future incidents. It punishes kids rather than restores them to the community.
- Suspensions are one example of this response. Suspensions punish children without any real attempt to understand the root of the problem and may actually make the problem worse.
- According to the Ohio Department of Education, during the 2015-16 school year, Columbus City Schools had 26,473 out of school suspensions. Strictly by the numbers, that is more than one suspension for every two students. Some schools had more suspensions than students!
- The vast majority of these suspensions are for disruptive behavior; a category that is very broad and ambiguous.
- Children and teens that get suspended are more likely to fail, drop out, end up in prison or on welfare.
- Studies have shown that zero tolerance discipline policies often push students out of classrooms and toward the destructive school-to-prison pipeline, even for minor misbehaviors (Kirwan Institute).
- Using national longitudinal data that tracked a cohort of 10th graders, the researchers estimated that 10th grade school suspensions result in more than 67,000 additional high school dropouts nationally. Cumulatively, the total cost of the 67,000 additional dropouts caused by school suspensions nationally exceeds $35 billion (UCLA Center for Civil Rights Remedies).
- Students can enter the juvenile justice system from the schools. In the 2015-16 school year, all but 4 of the high schools had school resource officers (that is police officers) present. If a student commits a crime, the officer can arrest them or issue a summons to appear in court. They said they don’t have any alternatives.
- Restorative Practices is an alternative to suspensions. Restorative practices “reduce crime, violence and bullying, improve human behavior, strengthen civil society, provide effective leadership, restore relationships, and repair harm” (International Institute for Restorative Practices).
- In 2016, BREAD worked with the School District to set up a plan to reduce suspensions and improve school climate.
- At our 2017 Nehemiah Action, former Superintendent Dan Good agreed to send representatives with BREAD leaders to Pittsburgh Public Schools to see Restorative Practices in action.
- On November 1st, BREAD Leaders, Members of the Columbus School Board, Columbus City Schools Administration including the interim Superintendent, and members of the Columbus Education Association toured 5 different schools in Pittsburgh.
- After seeing the success in Pittsburgh, Columbus City Schools Administration agreed with BREAD that the best way to achieve fidelity was with training by the International Institute for Restorative Practices.
- In April 2018, they presented a proposal to use Federal funds for training by the IIRP and the Columbus School Board voted yes! That summer, over 100 staff received training and 36 of those staff went on to be certified by the IIRP to train others.
- In 2018, BREAD also co-hosted a Community Summit with CCS called “Breaking the School to Prison Pipeline and Restoring Our City” to educate the wider community in Restorative Practices and create more buy-in from teachers and staff in the district as well as families and community members.
- In March 2020, the spread of COVID-19 caused schools to move to remote learning so training and monitoring of RP was paused. However, once schools opened back up, BREAD met with the School Board and Superintendent to plan ahead for getting Restorative Practices back on track.
- Thanks to BREAD’s persistence, in 2022, the School Board officially added Restorative Practices professional development and coaching to the Board’s Goals and Guardrails.
- At our Nehemiah Action May 2022, we celebrated the written goal in the District’s 5 Year plan to implement Restorative Practices in every school by 2026
- As an extension of that commitment, the Board added that progress on this goal will now be included in the Superintendent’s annual evaluation, a request BREAD had pushed for back in 2019
- 4 high schools are part of a pilot program with a special focus on Student-Led Restorative Practices
- Their goal is to have 10% of the students in those schools trained so they can shift the culture and set an example of the behavior change that other students could follow.
- BREAD plans on continuing to work with the Columbus City Schools Administration and the School Board to ensure a strong implementation and integration of Restorative Practices into our schools!
Franklin County and Ohio have rapidly aging populations. Older adults are challenged to find quality short and long-term care at an affordable price. Some seniors suffer from malnutrition and many from isolation. Senior services lack coordination across agencies, making it difficult to know where to seek information and help. According to the Kirwan Institute, in some neighborhoods, people on average, are dying 27 years younger than in other neighborhoods. There are many determinants that cause this gap, but seniors not having equal access to support and services is an injustice that must be addressed.
Long-term Care is a growing crisis in central Ohio.
- More than 70% of Americans 65 or older will need some form of long-term care .
- In Ohio the 65 or older population will grow from 1.7 million to 2.7 million in 2032 with Columbus having the second highest number of older adults in the state.
- While the number of seniors grows the number of family caregivers will be cut in half from 7.2 caregivers per person in need to 2.9 per senior in 2050.
- Long-term care providers will need to fill 7.8 million total direct-care job openings by 2026.
- Recruiting long-term care aides is stunted by low wages averaging $11 dollars per hour.
- Revenues in the home health care industry have grown 48% over the past 10 years. In contrast, when adjusted for inflation, average hourly wages for home care workers have declined by nearly 6% since 2004.
- CEO compensation at the four publicly traded national home healthcare chains has increased over 150% since 2004.
- Many potential long-term care employees can’t afford the necessary training cost of $625.
- Almost half of all home care workers rely on public assistance.
Malnutrition is the leading cause of illness and death among seniors.
- Ohio ranks tenth in the nation and first in the Midwest for seniors suffering from hunger.
- 26% of Ohio’s 2.6 million older adults are isolated and living alone.
- 17% are at risk of hunger.
- 27% are living in or near poverty.
- 30% of Ohioans will be 60 or older in 2040 compared to fewer than 20% today.
- Senior food programs have been cut at the state level from $15 million to $7 million since 2001.
“For the first time in at least 20 years, senior-services agency LifeCare Alliance didn’t get funding from the city of Columbus’ human-services grants program. The decision, at least for now, leaves LifeCare without the means to support its Meals on Wheels program for people younger than 60 and in poor health, said Chuck Gehring, LifeCare president and CEO.” (Columbus Dispatch February 22, 2019)
Isolation leads to significant health decline in seniors.
“Prolonged social isolation can equal the health risk of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.” (Douglas Nemecek MD, chief medical officer for behavioral health, Cigna)
- Franklin County funds programs addressing hunger and isolation through the senior levy. Growth in levy revenue between 2013 ($33,746,677) and the projected revenue for 2017 ($34,093,294) is essentially flat, enrollment in Senior Options increased by almost 10% between 2013 and 2014.
- Seniors in need of Medicaid must spend down their assets. They receive reimbursement for transportation to health visits but can not access the services through senior options making them at risk for isolation.
“There is a 27-year difference in life expectancy across ZIP Code boundaries in Franklin County. In addition, there are life expectancy differences by race, ethnicity, and poverty status. These unjust differences indicate that we can and should do better.” (Kirwan Institute, 2019)
Every agency we have met with has agreed that these determinants are compounded by a lack of awareness by older adults of the services they are eligible for. There is a lack of coordination among service providers and it is extremely difficult for many older adults to navigate the existing system of services and providers.
Expand pilot program in Columbus Fire Department that places social workers with EMS and First Responders on 911 calls to connect older adults to available services.
- Currently they have two social workers. We pressed for the second social worker to be hired.
- Expanding this program (SPARC) will especially help older adults in vulnerable neighborhoods and those who are isolated in their homes and unaware of the programs available. By reaching at risk older adults during a crisis, we can prevent future incidents and connect them to resources that could keep them in their homes and improve their overall health. SPARC will now be able to help 1,200 older adults so they will no longer suffer in silence!
Work with officials to launch a “Life Expectancy” task force similar to the “Celebrate One” task force for infant mortality reduction as recommended by the Kirwan Institute.
- The purpose of the task force will be to create more collaboration among agencies that serve older adults and strategically implement proven solutions to close the gap.
- This initiative will also increase public awareness of the life expectancy gap and put pressure on city and county officials to address social determinants causing this gap and support solutions that come out of the research.
- BREAD sees this as a long term goal that has the potential to address some of the bigger solutions that came up in our research such as implementing the national villages model in low income neighborhoods and improving the wages of home healthcare aides.
- The Life Expectancy Task Force began meeting in December 2019.
Want to get yourself or your congregation involved? Contact us!