Toledo City Council candidates Jack Ford and Theresa Gabriel teamed up today to advocate for smarter neighborhood housing policies in central Toledo.
The two announced their support of mayoral candidate D. Michael Collins’s positions on homelessness and revamping the city’s Department of Neighborhoods, but said they were not making an endorsement in Mr. Collins' race against incumbent Mayor Mike Bell.
Mr. Ford, an unendorsed Democrat and a former mayor, criticized a plan to construct 40 new tax credit-funded homes in the central city when already newly built homes sit empty and boarded up.
“We have 40 new homes going in this area when we already have 16 that are unoccupied,” Mr. Ford said. He called for full disclosure from nonprofit community development corporations that build such houses of any fees or incentives they are getting for the work, and he said the emphasis should be on rehabilitating existing houses rather than building new houses.
Mr. Ford and Ms. Gabriel, a former assistant chief of staff to former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, held their news conference on Bancroft Street next to a strip of newer government-subsidized homes that appeared to be unoccupied.
“On certain issues we’re going to be operating in tandem, as a team, on certain issues on city council, especially as it relates to the crisis in housing,” Mr. Ford said. They called for an annual report on blighted and vacant homes, and for market studies before the city spends money on new tax credit housing.
He also said, "We support Mr. Collins’ views with respect to shelters. We are going to make sure people who are vulnerable, particularly battered women, who need support of city hall are going to get that.”
Mr. Collins has criticized Mayor Bell's reduction of funding for homeless shelters in favor of the Lucas County Homelessness Board's which seeks to help people avoid homelessness.
Mr. Ford was the second top vote-getter in the Sept. 10 primary election, with 11,674 votes, while Ms. Gabriel came in sixth, with 8,309 votes. Twelve people are competing in the Nov. 5 election for six at-large council seats.