Akron DSA Demands Action Now! – COVID-19

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Ohio is in the midst of a public health crisis, which will exponentially compound the eviction crisis in Akron. The Ohio Department of Health grimly reported on March 12 that over 100,000 Ohioans likely carry the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. That number will potentially double every six days.

Akron has 24% poverty rate and a median household income of $37,000. In Summit County, 47% of residents are unable to meet basic needs.  Many Akron families will be unable to weather the dire economic threat posed by COVID-19.  Without paid sick leave and job protections, thousands of people in the Greater Akron Metropolitan Area must choose between protecting the health of their families, neighbors, and themselves and preserving their livelihoods.  When working people are forced to take unpaid leave or lose their job(s) by staying at home, the loss of income is devastating. This economic impact can easily lead to eviction. Though many other functions of Akron Municipal Court have been suspended and some provisions have been made to allow some individuals to stay out of the courtroom, Akron Municipal Court is still encouraging the filing of eviction paperwork.  We demand Akron Municipal Court halt these proceedings immediately. 

Akron is also failing to properly address and ongoing crisis of houselessness, particularly amongst children. This crisis has already led to outbreaks of disease related to poor sanitation. Hygienic practices are some of our best defenses against COVID-19, and with lack of access to running water, many houseless individuals, many who  already have compromised health, are at an extreme risk of becoming ill. While it is necessary to shut down many non-essential public buildings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, provisions must be made for individuals who rely on schools, libraries, and community centers for access to running water.  We demand safe solutions be found for the numerous citizens of Akron who are not housed.  

Eviction and houselessness will dramatically worsen the impact of COVID-19.  While governor DeWine has declared a state of emergency, acted quickly to shut down public events, and encouraged social distancing, Akron and Summit County officials must now act quickly to ensure no one in our community faces residential displacement and everyone has access to proper sanitation.  The community has enough resources to safely house all citizens if local government sides with the people rather than the interests of capital. We demand Mayor Horrigan, Akron City Council, Summit County Council, Summit County Department of Public Health, Akron Municipal Court, Summit County Court and local law enforcement work immediately to freeze rent and mortgage payments, institute a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures, and provide appropriate facilities to keep all our citizens safe.