Sojourner’s Truth Staff
Habitat for Humanity and partners broke ground in the Junction neighborhood last Friday on two houses on Belmont Street – the first of 15 new homes planned for the Junction area.
“The Junction neighborhood knows us,” said Michael McIntyre, executive director of the Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity as he opened the groundbreaking ceremony. “Now they are going to know us for new home construction.”
According to McIntyre, Alicia Smith, executive director of the Junction Coalition, invited his organization to extend their work in home renovation and building in the Junction area. Habitat joined with funding partners such as Owens Corning, ProMedica Junction, Greater Toledo Community Foundation, the City of Toledo, the Lucas County Land Bank and the Toledo Design Collective, among others, to put the money together for the new construction.
In addition to the two new side-by-side homes on Belmont – built on what was originally three lots – 13 more homes are planned for streets within a six-block Junction area bordered by Collingwood and City Park.
Adrienne Bradley of ProMedica spoke of what the home building project will do for the residents of the Junction are – “creating financial security for folks,” she noted. “We are thrilled to be able to support” this project.
The City of Toledo’s Housing Commissioner Tiffanie McNair said: “The City of Toledo has made revitalization … of neighborhoods on the cusp a top priority.” She commended the partnership that had been put together for the purpose of the home building project.
The owners for the two new homes have already been determined. William Slaughter, who has been a member of Habitat for over a year, helping on other projects in the area, and Tressa Boles, who has been with the group for less than two weeks at the time of the groundbreaking, will become the newest residents of Belmont Street. They will both undergo a 16-month program designed to shore up finances, reduce debt, build credit and help them navigate the path of homeownership.
“To be back home and in this area has been surreal,” said Boles, a Toledo native who spent a time in Florida recently.
Councilwoman Vanice Williams, in whose District 4 area the homes will be located, closed out the remarks before the groundbreaking itself, by pointing out that homeownership is important in building generational wealth and “generational wealth is very important to the African American community … homeownership in the African American community is still alive.”