The Housing Pillar

A Look at The Toledo Black Agenda

A wide range of leaders in Toledo’s Black community have joined forces to put together a report on the challenges facing that community in six critical areas.

The report, The Toledo Black Agenda, a months-long project in the making, examines historic obstacles and current challenges in the areas of criminal justice, economic development, education, health, housing, workforce development.

The community leaders and experts were assembled by Lisa McDuffie, CEO of YWCA of Northwest Ohio and Robin Reese, CEO of Lucas County Children Services.

Now Toledo’s Black Agenda will be made available to local government agencies, along with a host of private and public companies and entities in order to gather community-wide support for the demands and suggestions proposed in the report.

We are printing excerpts from the report over the next few weeks. The following is an excerpt from the fifth pillar – the Housing Pillar.

The entire report, with citations, can be read online at


Part V: The Housing Pillar


The purpose of the housing pillar is to address the racial disparities in Toledo’s housing market in the areas of rental, homeownership, and community development. Housing is a basic need, thus essential for personal, family and community stability. The call to improve current and legacy living conditions of black people must be addressed while simultaneously working to improve the quality of education, creating living wage opportunities and building an economic future for a better community. The Housing pillar equally influences the current and generational impact by the clear lack of economic, education, mental health outcomes and physical health indicators. An individual’s inability to maintain a home reduces the capability to earn a safe and affordable housing option, overpowers one’s psychological and physical health, long-term concentration, successful graduation from school, and in the place of employment.

The historic redlining and other government-backed discriminatory lending practices embolden segregation and disinvestment that impacts the black community today. The Housing pillar uplifts the urgency to recognize this injustice as a public health issue. The ability for an individual to own a stable, quality, safe and affordable house impacts all health outcomes. According to leading health experts, blacks have a shorter live expectancy and represent the majority of diseases and conditions that impact health indictors. LEAD is a public health crisis. Since 2016, nearly 1,000 Toledo children age 6 and younger have had confirmed blood-lead levels higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s threshold for concern. Estimates are that nearly 3,500 children in the city now are suffering the lifelong, permanent disabilities that come with lead poisoning (Toledo Blade 2019)

The City of Toledo’s residents are majority renters and not homeowners, and Black Toledoans are the majority of renters. In 2019, according to a Blade analysis of federal mortgage data, Black Toledoans are twice as likely to receive a denied conventional home loan application compared to other race applicants.

Black renters, especially single mothers, are evicted at a higher rate than other races. Studies suggest that there is a high correlation between eviction rates, minorities and poverty. The high unemployment rate for black workers and increased home prices create a high probability that applicants won’t secure the necessary down-payment to achieve homeownership.

Educational advancements also factor into the link to homeownership, for both blacks and whites, but black households with a bachelor’s degree are less likely to own their home compared to whites who earned a high school diploma.


  1. The Market

The city of Toledo has approximately 274,973 residents. Of that, 27.1% are Black, 74,242. Toledo’s population is declining between 1-3% annually.

The median household income in Toledo in 2018 was $35,339, for Black Toledo residents, the median household income was $21,788, whereas the states median household income was $54,021

Toledo has a poverty rate of 26.5%, whereas 37% of Black Toledo residents are living in poverty

Sales Market – The median home value in Toledo in 2018 was $78,400, whereas the states’ median home value was $144,200. A home for some families represent household wealth and often represents the most significant asset on a household’s balance sheet, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances. However, the racial gap in the homeownership rate has limited the financial benefits that accrue to black households, contributing to the broader racial disparity in wealth accumulation.

Rental Market – Some studies have covered up the racial disparities by labeling the issues in the black communities under the banner of poverty. Pointing the blame for the lack of affordable housing is due to the transit nature of people in poverty. Rent in Toledo is also considered to be on the inexpensive, with median rent averaging $709 per month, compared with the national median rent rate of $1,419 per month. 51% of all renters in Toledo are paying rates that are considered a burden to the renter.

  1. Housing Crisis Statistics
  • In 2017, the black homeownership rate (41.8 percent) was the lowest of all racial and ethnic groups. Between 2000 and 2017, the black homeownership rate dropped 4.8 percentage points—a loss of about 770,000 black homeowners—while the homeownership rates of other racial and ethnic groups either remained constant or increased.
  • Median household income for black households is substantially lower than for white households ($38,183 versus $61,363 in 2017). The homeownership gap is larger for low- income households likely because low-income white families, on average, have higher household wealth, and young white adults are more likely to have access to financial support from their parents. Reducing the income gap would reduce the black-white homeownership gap by about 9 percentage points.
  • More than 50 percent of white households have a FICO credit score above 700, compared with only 20.6 percent of black families. Thirty-three percent of black households with credit histories have insufficient credit and lack a credit score, while only 17.9 percent of white households have missing credit scores. The share of black families with a mortgage would increase 10.6 percentage points if their credit score distribution were the same as the distribution for white households.


The COVID pandemic elevated the urgency to address the inevitable onslaught of evictions and potential homelessness post CARES ACT protections. We see the need to create a sustainable plan for safe, affordable housing within black communities. The following is a list of tangible solutions:


  • More money and easier access to emergency rental assistance programs
  • Pay to Stay ordinance
    • Local eviction moratorium
  • Eviction Taskforce with member(s) from the Black community
  • Outreach and Education
  • Funding for and Creation of safe, healthy and affordable rental housing
  • Creation of Tenants Associations
  • Right to Counsel for eviction cases
  • Eviction Record Sealing
  • Holding Slum Lords responsible for conditions issues
    • Lead
    • Air Quality – mold/mildew
    • Repairs to make properties safe, healthy, and habitable.

Homeowners / Buyers 

  • Change lending practices
    • Demand policy changes nationally
    • provide sustainable alternative solutions at the local level
  • Build Trust with lending institutions –  Improving diversity within the industry offers an opportunity to build Trust with black borrowers who have lost confidence in financial institutions from past experiences.
    • Improving Loan Officer Diversity/Inclusion
    • Promote an equitable and accessible housing finance system
  • Outreach and Education
    • create opportunities to simplify and improve accessibility to down payment assistance programs.
      • Urban Institute states there are more than 2,500+ down payment assistance programs across the country with several of the program’s funds not being utilized. This is because of a lack of awareness and understanding about the availability of the programs.
    • outreach and counseling for renters and mortgage-ready millennials
    • Sustain homeownership
      • Pre-purchase and Post Purchase Counseling and support services
      • Legacy building
      • Education

Community Development  

Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) is an approach to sustainable community-driven development. Beyond the mobilization of a particular community, it is concerned with how to link micro-assets to the macro-environment. Asset Based Community Development’s premise is that communities can drive the development process themselves by identifying and mobilizing existing, but often unrecognized assets. Thereby responding to challenges and creating local social improvement and economic development

  • ABCD Approach
      • At the center are residents of the community who all have gifts and skills. Individual gifts and assets need to be recognized and identified. In community development you cannot do anything with people’s needs, only their assets. Deficits or needs are only useful to institutions.
      • Small informal groups of people, such as clubs, working with a common interest as volunteers are called associations in ABCD, and are critical to community mobilization. They don’t control anything; they are just coming together around a common interest by their individual choice.
      • Paid groups of people that generally are professionals who are structurally organized are called institutions. They include government agencies and private business, as well as schools, etc. They can all be valuable resources. The assets of these institutions help the community capture valuable resources and establish a sense of civic responsibility.
    • Place based assets – PEOPLE LIVE HERE FOR A REASON.
      • Land, buildings, heritage, public and green spaces are all examples of assets for the community. Every place where people choose to be was chosen for good reasons, and whilst people remain those reasons remain. A place might be a center of natural resources, a hub of activity, living skills, transit connection or marketplace. Whatever the strengths of a place are, the people of the community will be the closest to understanding it.
      • Asset Based Community Development recognizes that the exchange between people sharing their gifts and assets creates connections, and these connections are a vital asset to the community. People whose gift is to find and create these connections are called connectors. It takes time to find out about individuals; this is normally done through building relationships, person by person. The social relationships, networks and trust form the social capital of a community. ABCD recognizes the value of these assets, and is a practical application of building relationships to increase social capital.
  •  Focus on mixed-income based communities
    • Discourage black flight
      • Build amenities for families
      • Improve parks and recreations within black communities
        • Bike trails and lanes
      • Improve Shopping options that are close to home
        • Grocery stores within 2 miles of home
      • Increase pride in the community
        •  Alternative security and promote safety
        • Promote cleanliness and lawn care
        • Home maintenance and repair classes
        • Tax education
  • Improve Housing Stock and options within black communities
    •  Tackle housing supply constraints and affordability
      • Create tax incentives for first-time buyers, buyers that renovate dilapidated houses, and renters moving into homeownership
      • Use opportunity zone investments for developers/builders to build condo communities within those areas.
      • Rezone areas with large lots of unused land for factory-built homes and manufactured and modular homes
        • “some cities have taken bold actions to reform zoning and land-use regulations. Factory-built housing production, like manufactured and modular housing, could also increase homeownership affordability and supply….. Contrary to common perception, recent research highlights that some manufactured homes appreciate at similar rates as site-built homes. Manufactured housing has evolved and could be an affordable solution for helping black families get on the path to homeownership.” Urban Institution, Alana Mccargo –  five-point plan to improve black homeownership.
      • Blight elimination Plan for impact of community safety and livability
        •   Information for renter and homeowner support regarding rehab/ renovation and taxes