Nov. 9, 2015 [La Prensa]
CLEVELAND, Three veterans will soon have a place to call home thanks to a new partnership between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM). The Veterans’ Affordable Housing Initiative provides permanent affordable housing for homeless veterans living in Cuyahoga County, helping them achieve independence.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank is committed creating and furthering opportunities for veterans and actively seeks partnerships to address veteran’s issues. LMM’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside serves 4,000 men annually with 600 of those being homeless veterans. The Veteran’s Affordable Housing Initiative is a result of these organizations combining their missions to provide assistance to homeless veterans, thousands of whom live in Cuyahoga County.
“After serving our county with honor, our veterans should never have to worry about having a roof over their head,” said U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. “While I’m working to address this tragedy at the federal level, local organizations are essential to connecting Ohio’s veterans with housing options. This partnership between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry will help our veterans get on their feet and lead independent lives. There’s no better way to honor our veterans than to give them the support they deserve.”
The first home completed as part of the Initiative is located in East Cleveland and can house up to six veterans. “This project is a win-win,” said East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton. “It provides an affordable permanent home to veterans that have sacrificed to serve our country and takes an old property and breathes new life into it at the same time. We are honored to become the hometown for these vets.”
After determining needed accommodations with the help of LMM, the Cuyahoga Land Bank identified the East Cleveland property, facilitated the transfer and hired King’s Sons 821, a local youth workforce development training program, as the general contractor who led the renovation construction. Thanks to generous support from several LMM donors, LMM was able to purchase the renovated property with a favorable financing plan from Cuyahoga Land Bank.
“Everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” said Gus Frangos, president, Cuyahoga County Land Bank. “The Veterans’ Affordable Housing Initiative will get our homeless veterans into homes and help them regain their independence.”
The duplex has six bedrooms, giving six veterans a private space; and features a shared kitchen and living space on each side where the veterans can gather together. LMM’s Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside coordinates the tenant screening, selection and placement while LMM’s Social Enterprise program will act as landlord and will coordinate ongoing tenant check-in and support services as-needed.
“LMM is committed to addressing long-standing problems with innovative solutions and the veteran’s housing partnership is a good example,” said Andrew Genszler, LMM president and chief executive officer and a Navy chaplain. “Our homeless veterans have sacrificed much in service to our country and this partnership is just one way that we can honor and serve these men; supporting them on a path to self-sufficiency.”
LMM is accepting donations of housewarming gifts, such as bedding, towels and other small household items, so that they can feel at home. Anyone who would like to make a donation should contact Kelly Camlin, associate director of the men’s shelter, at (216) 649-7718 x480.
Both organizations are hopeful that the success of the East Cleveland home will lead to more homes being renovated and made available to veterans through the Initiative.