At its May 22 meeting, Cleveland City Council introduced Ordinance No. 658-2023, to allocate $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity (Habitat) with the goal of increasing access to affordable homeownership in historically underserved areas of the city of Cleveland.
The allocation of these funds is vital to Habitat’s plans to build 50 new homes as the first part of a five-year, strategic initiative through which the non-profit plans to benefit more than 400 households through a combination of new home builds, rehabilitations, and critical home repairs.
Each approved home applicant must complete Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program to become a Habitat Partner Family. Upon completion of the program, Habitat will sell the home to that family at no profit.
Habitat is highly focused on alleviating the cost of homeownership for its partner families, all of whom have households with low-to-moderate income (30-80 percent of the area median income). Habitat homes are sold with a zero percent interest mortgage, and in lieu of a down payment, Habitat homebuyers contribute 200-300 volunteer hours.
These new homes will be designed to provide each homeowner with a safe, quality, generational asset and home. To that end, the homes will be constructed to be accessible and accommodating to changing household needs and/or composition, with considerations for current and future mobility needs.
Habitat CEO John Litten shared, “This is the single largest gift or grant in Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity’s history. We will leverage this $5 million into another $11 million from other generous sources to benefit 400 or more households over the next few years.”
Council Member Jenny Spencer (Ward 15), one of the Ordinance’s cosponsors, stated, "Where possible, Habitat will use an 'aging-in-place' construction model, meaning single-story floor plans with mobility-accessible features. The best part about this style of housing is that it is truly "everyone housing" - equipped to accommodate families of all ages, sizes, and needs."
Council President Blaine A. Griffin shared about the initiative, "Cleveland City Council members are closest to their communities, and have identified affordable, infill homeownership as a top priority for Cleveland neighborhoods and residents. We are thrilled that this $5M investment in ARPA will benefit 50 new homeowners and up to 400 total Cleveland families."
ARPA support from Ward 11 will also be used to fund a portion of Habitat’s acquisition costs to purchase its building, which currently houses its administrative offices and Cleveland ReStore location. The building will be retrofitted to accommodate future growth, including 10 new jobs to ensure continued, uninterrupted service to Partner Families and ReStore customers.
Each new home will be constructed in accordance with Enterprise Green Communities standards to promote efficient, sustainable, and healthy homes.
Key Project Supporters: Council President Blaine A. Griffin, Council members Kevin Bishop (Ward 2), Deborah Gray (Ward 4), Michael Polensek (Ward 8), Danny Kelly (Ward 11), Jenny Spencer (Ward 15), and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank.