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Toledo City Council gives green light to turning green space into housing for chronically homeless

While housing advocates in the area see a need, some neighbors have concerns with the Warrens Commons housing project location at 2011 Franklin Ave.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A vote Tuesday is paving the way for a new housing complex designed for the chronically homeless. 

Being chronically homeless means people haven't had a stable place to live in a long period of time. 

A group is looking at 2011 Franklin Ave. right now as the location. It's a large green space neighbors use as a park.

A proposal before Toledo City Council passed, but not without some opposition. Under the proposal, part of the lot on Franklin Avenue would be transformed into a 46-unit apartment complex.

Warren Commons would also have case managers, financial counselors and possible AA and NA meetings on site.

"Folks will have their own kitchen and restroom and so on just like everyone else would. They'll also have additionals services offered on-site and off-site," Michael Hart with the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board said.

While housing advocates in the area see a need, some neighbors have concerns.

"There's George Manor senior citizen home, you've got the Cheney Flats, you got the Ashland Manor behind us. It's too many people," neighbor Treva Lockett said.

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Lockett has lived near the park for more than two decades and says they are already surrounded by affordable housing.

"This is the second poorest district in the city of Toledo and we just keep putting poverty upon poverty and it needs to be spread out throughout the community so it's full integrated," Tammy Michalak with Women of the West End said.

With this many affordable housing complexes around, both believe there has to be a better location so they can keep the green space, and for Lockett, feel more safe.

"Not that I don't sympathize with someone who doesn't have a place to live, but I don't want to live across the street from someone from just getting out of prison, being a retired police officer," Lockett said.

Hart said the goal of the housing is to provide vital services alongside a safe place to live for the homeless and this location allows them to do that effectively.

"It would be unconscionable to me, in the middle of a housing crisis, for our city council, when the need is so great, to turn away almost $12 million in funding to support this very important project," Hart said.