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Public housing agency backs sale of 100 individual units

Linnie-Willis

Head of the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority Linnie Willis.

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The Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority hopes to sell 100 units of public housing it owns at scattered sites, mostly within Toledo's central city.

Rehabilitating the units, all of which are two, three and four-bedroom houses, would be too costly, according to the housing authority.

Most of the houses are occupied.

LMHA board members approved the idea at a Wednesday board meeting, but the plan is subject to approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

That could take as long as a year, said Linnie Willis, LMHA's executive director, who emphasized that the approval from the agency's board was the first step in a long process.

If HUD approves the plan, residents would be given assistance in relocating.

Mrs. Willis said her agency is also seeking new rental units, which officials would prefer to be a complex of 100 units or more. Complexes are easier to manage than are scattered sites.

The move to sell the units was approved by a 3-0 vote; two board members were absent.

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However, some board members said they hope the properties can be sold in a way that doesn't contribute to neighborhood blight or other problems.

"I'm concerned about flooding the market with all these properties," said Bill Brennan, the board's chairman.

Board member Bernard "Pete" Culp agreed that the properties should be sold in a way that would not contribute to vacancies.

The housing authority has 3,101 public housing units, according to the most recent annual report it submitted to HUD.

The agency is in the midst of a major redevelopment, tearing down about 400 units at the Albertus Brown Homes and adjacent Brand Whitlock Homes in central Toledo. They will be replaced by Collingwood Green, which will have 136 units of public housing.

Aneel Chablani, a lawyer and director of advocacy for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, said he was not familiar with the plan proposed by LMHA but would want to ensure that adequate transition plans are in place for the families affected. He also said he would not want a net loss of affordable housing units.

ABLE has criticized the authority in the past for not doing enough to aid residents in relocation.

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