LMH gets grant to install new security cameras in Toledo

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Lucas Metropolitan Housing (LMH) announced recently it received a $250,000 federal grant to purchase and install new cameras and state-of-the-art security measures this year that will improve public safety at public housing locations in Toledo where officials say recent incidents of gang-related violence are posing a risk to residents and staff.
        Weiler Homes, Ravine Park Village and Birmingham are among the area’s public housing developments that will get the new cameras and security measures installed.
        The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Grant will help replace outdated equipment that LMH officials say is insufficient to meet the modern technology needs of LMH security staff, the City of Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Sheriff's Office, who work together cooperatively to help keep LMH's Greater Toledo affordable housing communities safe.
        Besides Weiler Homes, Ravine Park Village and Birmingham, LMH properties where the new technology will be introduced include the redeveloped McClinton Nunn Apartments, the Collingwood Green development, as well as LMH's Port Lawrence Homes and Vistula Manor apartment complexes. Additional LMH-managed sites that may also benefit from similar security upgrades include Flory Gardens, TenEyck, Glendale, Robert Dorrell Manor, John Holland, Ashley, Richmar, Oak Grove, Elmdale Court, and the Segur/Landry Building.
        "We recognize the spike we're seeing in violent crime and gang activity, which represents an urgent threat to these communities and sadly mirrors nationwide trends that are also being reported in non-public housing neighborhoods," said LMH President and CEO Joaquin Cintron Vega.
        "That is why it's critical for HUD and LMH to do as much as possible to provide for the security of our public housing residents and employees," Vega said. "We understand the reality many of our residents and staff are facing, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure their safety is our top priority."
        Specifically, the funds will be used to acquire new closed-circuit TV cameras, servers and equipment that will enable real-time monitoring to provide LMH property managers and law enforcement the level of assistance needed to provide the best possible protection to families and staff.
        LMH's application to HUD for the grant contained letters of support from its Department of Public Safety and Toledo Police Chief George Kral.
        The safety and security situation at LMH-managed sites, which are located across Lucas  County and all but one in Toledo, has worsened and experienced increased crimes. LMH's Department of Public Safety cited 2021 data to HUD in its application that shows robberies were up 18%, criminal sexual conduct reports increased 9%, and as many as 30 to 37 documented gangs were involved in illegal activity last year. Gun crimes and homicides were at a 20-year high in Toledo during 2021, data show.
        LMH's long history of collaboration with the Toledo Police Department "has successfully reduced some crime over the years," Kral said in his support of the HUD funding request. "However, crime continues to be an issue. [The new technology upgrades would add] another tool at hand to assist in criminal investigations and could prove vital to identifying suspects and successfully prosecuting cases."
        LMH Central Resident Advisory Board President Antrone Williams praised the agency's strong efforts partnering with local law enforcers to obtain HUD funding that he described as a potential "game-changing strategy" to reduce crime in their neighborhoods.
        "The hardworking, low-wage-earning families, senior citizens and people with disabilities who live in Toledo's at-risk communities should not have to live in fear," Williams said. "I'm hopeful the HUD grant will ultimately lead to a reduction in crime — criminals should know the police will soon have an enhanced ability to watch for illegal conduct and make arrests, thanks to the delivery of this new eye-in-the-sky technology."
        Each year, Congress sets aside a $10 million budget within HUD's Capital Fund appropriation to fund emergencies and natural disasters. The maximum amount of the emergency security and safety grants is $250,000 under HUD's program regulations. Congress typically appropriates this funding for assistance to public housing agencies for emergency capital needs, including safety and security measures necessary to address crime and drug-related activity, as well as the needs resulting from unforeseen or unpreventable emergencies and natural disasters.
        Funding must be used for items that address an emergency capital need. In fiscal year (FY) 2022, these eligible expenses include: 
•Security systems/cameras, including digital video recorders and secure Wi-Fi transmission of video signals:
•Lighting systems;
•Emergency alarm systems;
•Window bars;
•Deadbolt locks;
•Salaries for maintenance staff who are working on grant-eligible activities.
        In FY 2022, HUD awarded the $10 million in Capital Improvement Funds to 57 public housing agencies nationally, including $250,000 Emergency Safety and Security Grants in Ohio to each LMH, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and the Zanesville Metropolitan Housing Authority. Cost sharing/matching was not required. 


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