Author(s): Center for Community Progress
In May 2020, the City of Toledo and their partners at the Lucas County Land Bank engaged Community Progress to assess the City’s approach to code enforcement. The timing of this request was critical–like all cities, Toledo was grappling with how to maintain and prioritize services amid a global pandemic. At the same time, national calls for racial justice were challenging local governments to disrupt the status quo and re-imagine all decisions and policies through the lens of racial equity, which should include the allocation of more resources to communities of color to correct decades of disinvestment and unjust policies.
Community Progress assessed the City’s approach to housing and building code enforcement, and identified challenges and opportunities to address vacant and deteriorated property. Our takeaways emphasized that:
- Time was of the essence when addressing problem properties
- Equity had to be a key focus of code enforcement due to high levels of poverty and an aging housing stock
- Better tracking and analysis was needed of enforcement outcomes
- Partnerships, like with the local land bank, provide good opportunities to build capacity and develop an approach to strategic code enforcement