New effort to combat Toledo eviction crisis
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Lucas County Commissioners and local leaders announced plans to fortify protections against eviction on Thursday.
During a press conference held at the One Government Center, representatives of various organizations including the Homelessness Board, Pathway, Inc., The Fair Housing Center United Way of Greater Toledo, and Legal Aid of Western Ohio rallied together forming the Eviction Prevention League.
“Fewer and fewer persons in eviction court is a goal. Greater housing security for our community is a goal,” Lucas County’s Commissioner Gary Byers said.
Commissioner Pete Gerken echoed his fellow board members sentiments, saying eviction prevention is a high priority.
“Sometimes relationships between tenants and landlords can be troubling. Sometimes there’s bad communication but once they [tenants] are evicted their chaos becomes tenfold and we need to prevent that,” Gerken said.
Among the several resources made available, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said the city will hire a Landlord Tenant Services Manager. The new position will assist with addressing housing security issues prior to landing eviction status.
According to statistics provided by the Toledo Municipal Court, there have been 1,298 evictions filings this year.
George Thomas, Vice President and General Counsel of the Fair Housing Center, said the finding further proves the need for a renewed focus on housing.
“If just a couple of people are impacted by each of those that’s more than 2,600 people so far just in 2022. That means that year after year that adds up to a huge portion of our population. This is a really significant issue for our community,” he said.
He added this issue disproportionately impacts minorities, those with disabilities, and families with children.
To help combat an increase in evictions, the Fair Housing Center will reenergize its commitment to its free landlord-tenant mediation program.
The program will work to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants before an eviction filing. The program is free and available to all Lucas County residents.
Beyond the needs of tenants, local and county leaders discussed further supporting landlords as well.
“This is a two-part partnership. Landlords are essential and tenants need to have rights, respect, and dignity. I think we live in a county and city where we can accomplish both of those. One won’t happen without the other,” Gerken said.
You can find additional information about the City of Toledo’s rental assistance program and down payment assistance program here. You can watch the announcement in the video below.
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