News briefs – Aug. 27


STATE OF OHIO RETURNS RECORD AMOUNT OF UNCLAIMED FUNDS TO OHIOANS – Fiscal year 2015 was another record setting year for the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Unclaimed Funds, as $76 million was returned to Ohioans. This was the second year in a row that the division topped its previous best, beating the record of $74.4 million set in fiscal year 2014. This represents a 2% increase, and the average claim was for $1,672.

Unclaimed funds are money or the rights to money that have been dormant or forgotten. Some common examples include: dormant checking and savings accounts, forgotten rent or utility deposits, uncashed checks, undelivered stock certificates and uncashed insurance policies.

“The Division of Unclaimed Funds has again shown their commitment to reuniting Ohioans with their hard-earned money with this new record,” Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “The money returned has the opportunity to make a big difference in the lives of Ohioans, helping them to possibly pay off some bills, make repairs to their home or even expand a business which means jobs for Ohioans.”

Division Superintendent Yaw Obeng encourages Ohioans to visit to see if they have funds waiting to be claimed. Individuals without Internet access can write to the Division of Unclaimed Funds and provide the full name(s) to be researched, along with the counties in which the person(s) might have resided. The Division’s address is 77 South High Street, 20th Floor, Columbus, OH, 43215. Anyone with questions about unclaimed funds can call the Division toll free at 1-877-644-6823 (OHIO UCF).

CENTRAL OHIO HOUSING MARKET SHATTERED RECORDS IN JULY – Sales, prices and time to sell a home set records again during July 2015. The 3,208 home sales last month were up 1.9 percent over the previous month (June 2015) and up 11.7 percent from July of 2014. This also set a record high for any single month of home sales in any year.

Year to date home sales (January through July 2015) were 17,110 which was up 9.7 percent compared to the same period last year and the highest on record for the first seven months of any year.

“Demand remains high for both single family homes and condos in central Ohio,” said Columbus REALTORS® 2015 President Kathy Shiflet. “We continue to have buyers ready and waiting for homes to be listed for sale. So when a nice residence comes on the market, they’re wasting little time.”

During the month of July, homes spent an average of 43 days on the market (from listing to contract or close), which is down from 55 days one year ago and again, a record low for any month.

WALMART FOUNDATION AWARDS $300,000 TO CENTRAL OHIO NON-PROFITS – The Walmart Foundation announced five central Ohio non-profit organizations have been awarded a total of $300,000 in grants through its State Giving Program to assist in the fight against hunger.

The grants were awarded during a check presentation at the Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio Food Pantry on Columbus’ west side where local representatives from Walmart recognized the charitable organizations and the positive impact they are having in the community. In addition to today’s presentation, similar events are being held throughout the state where a total of $919,000 will be awarded to organizations that fight hunger.

“The cornerstone to Walmart and the Walmart Foundation’s nationwide commitment to fight hunger is supporting local organizations that are making a difference in our communities and helping our families live better,” said James Davis, Manager of the Walmart Supercenter on Georgesville Road. “Collectively these organizations serve thousands of Ohioans with a wide range of services to ensure families and children have access to food.”

Among the organizations receiving grants were:

· Children’s Hunger Alliance received a $75,000 grant to install five breakfast vending machines in high schools around Ohio. The vending machines will help to increase participation in school-based breakfast programs for at-risk teens by removing the perceived stigma attached to receiving free food. Each machine can hold 72 breakfast meals, prepared by cafeteria staff and adhering to USDA nutritional standards.

· LifeCare Alliance received a $65,000 grant to support its Meals-on-Wheels, Congregate Dining Centers, and the Groceries-to-Go Pantry that feed older adults and individuals in central Ohio living with medical challenges and/or disabilities.

· Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio received a $75,000 grant to provide healthy foods for the 80,000 people in 13 Ohio counties that it serves each year. A portion of the grant will also help Lutheran Social Services/Ohio Benefit Bank provide clients other benefits such as tax assistance.

· Mid-Ohio Foodbank received a $60,000 grant will support the Foodbank’s South Side Roots Café and Market at the Reeb Avenue Center a mixed income dining and shopping experience to ensure the community’s access to affordable, nourishing meals and fresh quality food. The grant will also help to provide healthy, nourishing lunches every week day to at least 75 low-income children and adults, including homeless individuals and families.

· Westerville Area Resource Ministry received a $25,000 grant to support the nutrition initiatives WARM is championing that provide clients with wholesome, quality foods as well as instruction on balanced meal preparation.

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