Interview by Ed Conn and Val Vetter
Ohio, US street paper Toledo Streets spoke to Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz about homelessness, poverty and other systemic issues in the Midwest city and across the US.
Toledo Streets: According to the Lucas County Homelessness Board, an estimated 1,600 people experience homelessness in Toledo, including 322 families with children.
In February of this year, you were quoted as saying: “We have come together to provide a programme that is going to allow hundreds of families in our community, more to the point hundreds of kids, to not have to worry about where they are going to sleep tonight.” How is this going?
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz: That $2 million (£1.6 million) programme – a partnership with the Toledo Public Schools (TPS), the City of Toledo and Lutheran Social Services – is directed toward underserved TPS families that struggle with homelessness.
School is hard enough, especially as you advance toward the high school years. When you don’t know where you will be sleeping that night or where your next meal is coming from, school is almost impossible to navigate. TPS, unfortunately, is ranked number one in the state for per capita student homelessness.
I am told that the programme is going well. Much of the funding was through the America Rescue Plan and we have one more year of those resources. Lutheran Social Services will have two more years to reach the established goal.
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