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Bluff Street Village offers low

Dec 15, 2023Dec 15, 2023

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TOLEDO, Ohio — It takes a village to make an impact, and a local pastor is hoping six 400-square-foot homes in central Toledo will expand into more low-income housing.

The six tiny homes, part of the Bluff Street Village just south of Monroe Street, are welcoming three new residents in the next few weeks.

Project Director Larry Clark, a pastor at Monroe Street United Methodist Church, said it's a dream come true.

"We kept looking at this street for years trying to figure out what could happen here," Clark said. "How could we transform this street into something that would make this neighborhood proud?"

The Monroe Street Neighborhood Center hosted the village's first groundbreaking in 2020.

The village is open to people who meet the income requirement, at or below $18,000 annually, and gives residents the opportunity to become first-time homeowners in about seven years when they make payments of at least $400 a month, Clark said.

One of the current three residents, future owner Walter "Salt" Walker, was the first person to move in. He said faith got him on the path to home ownership.

"This house? It's my shelter, it's my sanctuary. It's my oasis. It's my home and I was blessed with it," Walker said.

He said getting involved in at Monroe Street United Methodist Church, through the food pantry and eventually bible study, is how he learned about applying for a tiny home.

Walker wasn't the only one, though. Clark said the program received so many applications -- at least two a day -- it had to stop accepting them at one point.

Now, the project is open for applications once again. But be warned, the waiting list is a year long.

All six homes currently have residents, and the neighborhood center hopes to raise more funds to be able to build more homes. This includes an open house fundraiser to showcase the village on May 27 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We build houses as we are able to raise the money," Clark said. "We have to raise the money all upfront before we can build a house."

He said construction can take anywhere from $80,000-100,000 to build a home, which is where sponsors like Lowe's, organizations like the Penta Career Center and everyday Toledoans all help through funding and volunteer hours.

Walker said he understands how giving other people can be and it's inspired him to do so as well.

"As soon as I get a little better, I'll be able to do more volunteer work myself," he said.

The village's goal is to build a total of 20 tiny homes down both sides of Bluff Street. For more information on how to qualify for housing, the application, or to donate funds, click here.