Citizen input gathered from the survey will be analyzed to
determine how to better allocate these federal resources to
address community needs. City officials stated the survey only
takes about 15 minutes to complete.
“This survey is very important for our next strategic plan which
runs from 2015 to 2020,” said Bonita Bonds, commissioner
of administrative services within
the City of Toledo Dept. of
Neighborhoods. “We would like the community to tell us how
they would like to see these dollars allocated. Once we finalize
this plan, we’re locked in for five years.”
The survey covers such critical areas as housing,
infrastructure, homelessness, as well as public and social
services, among others. The comprehensive plan deals with three
pools of money the city receives each year from the federal
Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): Community
Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME funding, and Emergency
Solution Grant (ESG) funding.
Toledo received $6.8 million in CDBG funds this year, an amount
that has been reduced significantly in recent years. Those funds
are typically spent on social services, neighborhood and
economic development activities. ESG monies are spent to help
Toledo’s homeless. HOME dollars
totaled about $1.7 million this year, while ESG funding amounted
HOME funds are meant
to increase homeownership and affordable housing opportunities
for moderate and low-income families and can be used for a
variety of housing activities, according to local housing needs.
Those uses include tenant-based rental assistance, housing
rehabilitation, assistance to homebuyers, and new housing
construction, and blight prevention and removal.
At one time, Toledo received more than $12 million in HUD funds
annually, but federal budget cutbacks and declining population
have led to fewer dollars. City officials stated the reduced
amount makes how those dollars are spent even more critical.
“HUD is looking for a positive outcome,” said Ms. Bonds. “If
we’re putting money toward housing, we have to get the best bang
for our buck. If owner-occupied housing is one of the priorities
the community identifies, then we should see an improvement in
our housing stock, people who become homeowners within a certain
income range that need assistance with these dollars.”
City leaders have conducted a series of public meetings
throughout June, including at the East Toledo Family Center
and the Believe Center, locations close to Latino
families. Those community meetings have since ended.
“We have seen better numbers and a better turnout by reaching
out in the community from all populations,” said Ms. Bonds.
The community survey will be used to
identify community needs, establish strategies to meet those
needs, and identify funding priorities that meet HUD eligibility
guidelines. The comprehensive plan then will be developed based
on that input from residents.
“This is a rare opportunity for our citizens to really have an
input on how these dollars get spent. Although it’s a mandate
from HUD that we do this, it’s something that we’re passionate
about and we really want the community to help us with this
plan,” said Ms. Bonds. “We don’t want to have to actually sit in
the office and tell the community what we think is important. By
getting input from the citizens, it helps us to better target
The survey can be found on the main page of the city’s website
www.toledo.oh.gov. Paper copies of the survey can be
obtained by calling the Dept. of Neighborhoods directly at