The Truth Staff
The City of Toledo was so successful in distributing $14,333,272.77 in direct assistance ERA 1 and ERA 2 Rental Assistance funds over the past year and a half that the U.S. Department of Treasury has reallocated more than $19 million from the State of Ohio to Toledo to aid more area families, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, other city officials and local agencies announced last week, during a press conference at Pathway.
In fact, on the day of the announcement, March 30, the City opened its portal to begin allocating the $19,409,830.00 to households. During the first two dispersals 2,564 households recurved an average of $5,590.20 each for rent payments that lasted 7.15 months.
“We are thrilled to receive the additional funding, especially since it is a direct result from the success of our efforts to get aid to families in need during the first two rounds of funding,” said Kapszukiewicz. “The City of Toledo is committed to making sure that residents who are at risk for homelessness, or have housing instability, are helped financially so that they can stay in their homes.”
“The additional funding awarded to the City of Toledo is critical for families who are still suffering under the weight of unpaid rent due to the traumatic effects of COVID-19,” said Rosalyn Clemens, director, Department of Housing and Community Development. “We are grateful for our City of Toledo TLCERAP tram and partnerships with NeighborWorks, Lutheran Social Services and Pathway, who have worked tirelessly to get the funds to our residents in need.”
“Rental assistance is so important,” Clemens added. “Homeownership [in Toledo] has declined and most renters are cost burdened. Housing is cheap but incomes are low and people are often paying 50 percent of their income on housing. We need affordable housing – it’s good for the economy.”
Housing Commissioner Tiffanie McNair thanked the many landlords who helped with the program, particularly by allowing “families to stay in their homes while the process was completed.”
“We earned this additional funding,” said Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken while also acknowledging that government officials and employees did not have the knowledge of and connections within neighborhoods to get those funds into the hands of residents who needed the money in the time allotted by the Treasury Department.
“We collectively turned it over to people who knew how to get it done – Pathways, Lutheran Social Services and NeighborWorks. This is where the help was. We have on the ground people who know how to work with the community.”
Jay Black, president and CEO of Pathway, described the challenge of making it work and also praised the collective effort that such an accomplishment took.
“There is a tremendous need for rental assistance and all of us have banded together to help meet that need,” said Black.
Bill Farnsworth, CEO of NeighborWorks, echoed the general sentiment about that collective effort and also asked residents to think “long term.”
“This cost burden is a reall issue,” Farnsworth said of housing costs. “I encourage the public, if you get involved, think about it long term.” He asked people to think about taking a look at the Financial Opportunity Center that his agency, among others, offers. “Think about homeownership,” he added noting that the FOC enables residents to overcome financial challenges and buy homes.
Absent at the press conference was U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur but her efforts in securing the funding did not go unappreciated.
“None of this would be possible without Marcy Kaptur,” said Kapszukiewicz.
The portal is up and running and will remain open until the end of April. Those who have already received assistance from or have started an application with Toledo Lucas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (TLCERAP) should use their original application to access the portal. Program details may be found at http://toledo.oh.gov/renters.
The Department of Housing and Community Development will be hosting Emergency Rental Technical Assistance events at local libraries for information.
DATE TIME PLACE
Monday, April 4 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM Mott Branch
Wed. April 6 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Birmingham
Thursday, April 7 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM Lagrange
Friday, April 8 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM West Branch
Monday, April 18 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Mott Branch
Tuesday, April 19 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM South Branch
Wed., April 20 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM Birmingham
Thursday, April 21 12:30 PM – 4:30 PM Lagrange
Friday, April 22 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM West Branch