Partner Feature: Cleveland Housing Network: 40 Cleveland Housing Network Properties to get New Life, Thanks to the Cuyahoga Land Bank & the City of Cleveland

30 vacant homes and 10 vacant lots in Cleveland are getting a second chance at new life, thanks to critical assistance from the City of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
In March 2011, a project, being developed by the Cleveland Housing Network (CHN), lost a highly competitive bid for an allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits needed to move forward with the affordable housing project.chn_house
To keep the critical project alive, the Cuyahoga Land Bank stepped in to purchase and hold 20 of the 40 properties while other financing could be assembled. Flexibility like that just doesn’t happen in private-market deals, according to Kevin Brown, CHN’s Director of Real Estate Development.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank also demolished three of the blighted properties to make room for new, green homes.
Financing was secured through the City of Cleveland’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP-2), allowing the project to leverage tax exempt bonds with 4% tax credits.
“We simply could not have pulled off this project without the Cuyahoga Land Bank or the City of Cleveland,” says Kevin Brown.
The project is part of the Cleveland Housing Network’s targeted neighborhood stabilization efforts to redevelop vacant homes in the city’s Strategic Investment Initiative areas.
CHN has worked with the Cuyahoga Land Bank on several other projects. The partnership has allowed CHN to significantly reduce the intensive labor, time and costs associated with locating and acquiring vacant homes.chn_house1
“The Cuyahoga Land Bank ramped up very quickly,” says Brown, “and we’ve been working with them since Day 1 as an instrumental partner in our neighborhood stabilization efforts.”
Previously CHN might have spent months to research, assess and negotiate the sale of a handful of vacant properties before rehab could even begin, paying as much as $15,000 per property-that is, if the owner could be located. Today, the Cuyahoga Land Bank conducts the due diligence, holds the property as necessary and sells for a nominal amount.
“These types of projects typically take 12 months to put together,” states Brown. “But because of the Cuyahoga Land Bank and the city, we were able to put it together in just 5 1/2 months.” This is significant in a city where thousands of vacant homes are in need of rehabilitation or demolition.
The 40 homes in this project are in the neighborhoods of Tremont, Detroit Shoreway, Glenville, Buckeye/Shaker, Slavic Village, Lee-Harvard, Northeast Shores and Mt. Pleasant. Homes will be offered for lease purchase to low-income families at affordable rents.

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