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Oct. 12th ‘Housing Fair’ brings help to struggling families


By La Prensa Staff


TOLEDO: Latino families and others in poverty may be able to find the housing help they need with a weekend event designed to provide one-stop shopping and triage their individual situations.


Several housing-related agencies are partnering with similar groups to hold a comprehensive afternoon of help, passing out information, answering questions, and trying to encourage families who rent to learn about all their options and opportunities to obtain a more permanent home situation. Many of those families are stuck in a cycle of moving from place to place.


“What we’re trying to do is target people in poverty during Hispanic Heritage Month,” said Adrianne Kolasinski, a La Prensa rep, who is the driving force behind the event. “We have all these groups coming together so we can be able to provide resources and services.”


The event will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, 1 to 4 p.m., at Chase STEM Academy, 600 Bassett St., in North Toledo. Free transportation will be provided to families in need who request it.


“This is for the renter, whether you are trying to buy a home, whether you have back taxes, if you even just need a homeowner Pell grant to be able to set goals for homes that you need to obtain,” said Ms. Kolasinski. “People fall through the gaps and it’s much easier to repeat the cycle. Each person who comes has to get a checklist hole-punched so they’ll be able to have all the information to take home with them. We don’t want them falling through the gaps.”


The Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA), NeighborWorks, Northwest Ohio Development Agency (NODA), The Fair Housing Center, 2-1-1, the Salvation Army, Lucas County Auditor Anita López, and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, among others.


There will be presentations from two homeowners, one who took advantage of a city of Toledo grant, and another who solved a housing crisis with the help of NeighborWorks and a program run in conjunction with Fifth Third Bank.


“[Hearing from these speakers] may give hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ms. Kolasinski. “When you’re living in poverty and that’s all you’re used to, the struggle is a lot easier to just keep going through it. That hamster wheel is the constant struggle. When you’re constantly struggling, every single week, paycheck to paycheck, trying to figure it out, you don’t have any room to do anything else. So, this is the place to go.”


There will be a bouncy house, face painting, and other children’s activities to keep them occupied while parents learn about their housing options. There also will be bilingual services for Spanish-speaking families who may need an interpreter. But the event is not limited to just Latino families. The general public is welcome to attend the free event.


Toledo Public Schools (TPS) officials also are partnering by hosting the event, hoping to give some of their students and families some permanency in their housing situations, so children can find the stability to do better academically.


“We realize that, in order for students to excel in school, they have to come from healthy and happy families,” said Alina Rodríguez, TPS family engagement and family outreach coordinator. “So, we’re really trying to reach out and help our families in the district to improve their lives, especially with this event. Our main goal is to get the word out and let them know that there is equal opportunity for them as well.”


The first 100 families in attendance also will receive a free bag of groceries—enough to sustain them for an entire weekend, according to Ms. Kolasinski. The Islamic Food Bank, which prepares those bags in cooperation with the SeaGate Food Bank, is providing the groceries. Hunger and housing worries are two of the primary problems children bring to school with them, factors that greatly affect social-emotional learning and development.


“A lot of our families get into the rut of renting and they move from home to home,” explained Ms. Rodríguez. “By providing this kind of event, we’ll open up doors to people who maybe don’t think buying a home is for them—or they couldn’t possibly be part of this.”


Moving from house to house creates great stress on children who are constantly changing schools, having to make new friends, developing new relationships with teachers, and struggling to find a sense of belonging. All of those factors can hinder the learning process.


“A lot of times they’ll no longer have to move from school to school. They’ll stay within their home school until they go on to high school,” said Ms. Rodríguez. “It does create a greater deal of stability for all of the kids.”





Copyright © 1989 to 2019 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/08/19 20:40:09 -0700.




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