In September, Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos discussed urban neighborhood housing at the annual Christian and Missionary Alliance’s Central District Conference in Cleveland. Themed “Open Our Eyes,” the conference showcased the work being done through urban ministries, church missionaries and volunteers throughout the City.
Cuyahoga Land Bank collaboration partner Paul Huneycutt of Envision Cleveland hosted a meeting of the group, providing an update on Envision’s ministry and speaking on the refugee landscape of Cleveland and the issues and challenges refugees face in coming to the United States. Vatreisha Nyemba, Cuyahoga Land Bank Compliance and Program Development Manager, led a discussion on the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s efforts to deliver housing solutions through community collaboration.
A Conference breakout session offered attendees a hands-on volunteer opportunity in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Dozens of volunteers helped the Concerned Citizens Community Council (CCCC) install a polythene cover on a hoophouse constructed on a vacant lot left behind after the demolition of a blighted house by the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
The hoophouse will be used for community gardening and educational programming for neighborhood youth. CCCC applied for and received funding for the hoophouse through the Cleveland High Tunnel Initiative, a collaboration of the Ohio USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ohio State University Extension, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, the City of Cleveland and other organizations. The Initiative provides an opportunity for Cleveland residents to receive funding for high tunnels to allow for year-round community gardening.