Northeast Ohio organizations plan to offer abandoned homes to immigrants (WEWS)

CLEVELAND – Several organizations are coming together to combat a major and costly problem in northeast Ohio.

The problem is the growing number of vacant homes in the area. Some estimates show more than 30,000 abandoned and condemned homes are depleting neighborhoods in our area. According to the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, these homes have cost northeast Ohio $1 billion in lost property value and tens of millions of dollars in lost property taxes, in the past five years alone.

The solution is The Discovering Home Program, which is a joint effort by the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the International Services Center.

Together, they want to turn neighborhoods around by offering struggling immigrants housing. The refugees will have to agree to fix them up. The hope is that families will take great pride in their homes and help stabilize neighborhoods. Many believe it is a win-win situation.

The project will kick off at a home at 1443 Hopkins Avenue in Lakewood. Rehabilitation work on that property began in November. The family’s projected move-in date is in February. The Cuyahoga Land Bank and ISC plan to complete seven refugee houses by the end of 2012.

“We have a unique opportunity for investing in lives that will establish roots in our local community,” said Karin Wishner, Executive Director of ISC of Cleveland. “Refugees come with very little, but find a way around obstacles with a willingness to become self-sufficient.”

WEWS NewsChannel5 is also committed to improving living conditions in northeast Ohio. The station has launched a Building Better Neighborhoods project, which will help identify more solutions for positive change in the area.

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