Walking the walk


Members of Toledo’s First Alliance Church are still recovering from a fire that destroyed their church in 2009. But that doesn’t keep them from walking the walk.

In cooperation with Cherry Street Mission Ministries, the church is building a duplex home that will house two families who otherwise would face homelessness. The space is to be used on a temporary basis — six months to a year — until the recipient families get back on their feet. The project relies heavily on volunteers, including the general contractor and the 20 or so suppliers of most of the materials.

There are an estimated 636,000 homeless people in America. There is shelter capacity for only about 70 percent of them. More than one-third of homeless Americans are considered severely mentally ill or chronic substance abusers.

Some 100,000 American are chronically homeless. A growing number, an estimated 10 percent, are military veterans.

Last year, nearly 1,100 people were counted as homeless in Lucas County, 100 more than in 2011. Roughly 100 were veterans and nearly 150 were victims of domestic violence.

First Alliance is doing something about homelessness — walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Toledo Mayor Mike Bell said his plan for the city’s role in this enterprise is simple: “Stay out of the way.”