It is no secret that there are not enough affordable and available housing options for lower-income northeast Ohioans. With its Breaking New Ground Affordable Housing Initiative, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) hopes to help house families in need and those experiencing homelessness or housing instability. Launched in 2019 with a $3.5 million fundraising goal (which it has significantly exceeded), the initiative includes plans to buy and renovate 20 homes in Cleveland’s St. Clair Superior neighborhood.
LMM worked with the Cuyahoga Land Bank and St. Clair Superior Development Corporation (SCSDC) to acquire its first house in the project, a duplex on Bonna Avenue. The house was one of many vacant and abandoned homes in the Cuyahoga Land Bank inventory scheduled for demolition. With the help of a significant sponsorship from the Cleveland Browns, LMM spent three years renovating the house and recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating its completion. Through its Family Stability Fund (FSF), LMM will serve as the landlord of the property and offer rent that does not exceed 30% of a family’s monthly income.
With several other renovations completed and more underway, LMM’s innovative rental model is restoring hope and homes for the city’s underserved.
“We will soon have our first seven units occupied, 13 to go,” says Michael Sering, LMM Vice President of Housing and Shelter. The FSF ensures long-term affordability and sustainability which is what we are after for these families. The Land Bank has been an amazing partner throughout, helping us identify houses, technical assistance, and even financial support. The sky is the limit for this partnership. This would not have happened without the Land Bank.”
“The work that Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry is doing is in direct response to the unique needs of people facing housing instability,” says Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel for the Land Bank. “Everyone deserves a safe, stable place to call home and this program encourages self-sufficiency and can ultimately break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. We look forward to continuing to help LMM in its mission.”