Sojourner’s Truth Staff
On Friday, October 8, the United Way of Greater Toledo announced a $100,000 grant to four area agencies and the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board to deal with the ongoing housing crisis that the Toledo area is currently facing.
The agencies that provide shelters for the homeless and the grants are: Beach House at $7,500, La Posada at $7,500; Family House at $25,000 and St. Paul’s “Winder Crisis” at $50,000.
The Homelessness Board will receive $15,000 for housing coordination and support for individuals and families exiting shelters.
Wendy Pestrue, president of the United Way of Greater Toledo opened Friday’s announcement by acknowledging that the agency knew the current homelessness spike was coming and that the she and her colleagues have been evaluating data for some time. What they have seen is a 400 percent increase on shelter waiting lists since the COVID-19 pandemic started; that rent payment assistance has been a leading request on their 2-1-1 hotline and that individuals and families on the 2-1-1 line have informed responders that they have in many cases been sleeping in places “now meant for habitation.”
“This is indeed the relief that will help many in our ‘Winter Crisis’ program,” said Joe Habib, executive director of the St. Paul Community Shelter. “Every single square inch of space is utilized in winter – between 30 and 55 guests a night.”
Tonia Pace, executive director of Family House echoed those thoughts as she thanked United Way for its grant. Noting that Family House has witnessed an increase in the number of homeless families needing a place to sleep and stay over the last two years, Pace said: “It is going to be a cold winter and these dollars will go a long way.”
“We can work together to make a change,” said Pestrue in her closing remarks. This is a call to action – more is needed. Please go to the United Way website and give.”