Paul Vagts speaks at the podium outside his Cherry Street home as his stepson, Kyle Hammond, gives a thumbs up. Behind them are Michael Marsh from the Toledo Fair Housing Center, left, and Wade Kapszukiewicz, chairman of the Lucas County Land Bank.
For the first time in years, the Vagts family isn’t running around with plastic containers to catch rain leaking through their roof.
A grant funded by a national court settlement over discriminatory real estate practices provided them with the money to have the roof on their imposing Cherry Street house replaced.
The improvement, which cost about $8,800, was highlighted in a news conference Tuesday with the Toledo Fair Housing Center and the Lucas County Land Bank.
“We had leaks, but there was no way we could afford to get it done,” said Paul Vagts, 57, who shares the house with his wife, Cheryl Hammond-Vagts, and stepson, Kyle Hammond. “We couldn’t have gotten a roof if this hadn’t happened.”
The fair housing center received a settlement of $1.4 million from Wells Fargo Bank in a lawsuit brought by the National Fair Housing Alliance and 13 other plaintiffs. Michael Marsh, president and CEO of the Toledo office, said $700,000 of that was set aside for homeowners in designated census tracts to get new roofs.
The Lucas County Land Bank matched with an equal amount to help maintain good homes.
Of the $1.4 million fund, $1 million will be dedicated to paying for about 100 new roofs.
Mr. Vagts said he gets his stepson to and from his school for autistic students and his wife works full time as an office manager.
The 2,189-square-foot house was vacant when they bought it in 2006. He said they had the roof patched for $75 about four years ago, but the patch eventually failed.
Mr. Vagts was approached by the Cherry Legacy Project and assisted in filling out the application with the Land Bank, according to Karen Rogalski, project coordinator with the Cherry group.
The area covered by Cherry Legacy includes some 5,000 dwellings surrounding Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. She said Mr. Vagts was known as one who needed the roof. Candidates were required to attend a class and appear in front of a committee.
The grants are also being offered to homeowners in the Dorr Street Corridor and the Old South End.