Cuyahoga Land Bank Celebrates Disabilities Awareness Month; Conclusion of a 2nd Year of Partnership with Koinonia Homes, Inc. to Maintain Properties

For the second year in a row through a partnership between Koinonia Homes, Inc. and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, a crew of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities gained meaningful work experience while helping to keep communities clean in Cuyahoga County.
The Cuyahoga Land Bank first worked with Koinonia Homes to establish Rising Harvest Farm, a vocational urban agricultural farm at West 41st and Memphis Avenue that serves as a multifaceted resource. Koinonia teaches their clients about farming, along with producing high-quality naturally grown food for citizens throughout the County. It was while working on this project that Cuyahoga Land Bank President Gus Frangos realized the Cuyahoga Land Bank could also team up with Koinonia to provide employment for individuals served by Koinonia.hoop_house
In 2012, Frangos proposed the creation of a work experience program that would maintain vacant properties in the Cuyahoga Land Bank inventory and utilize the talents and skills of Koinonia’s clients.   Not every property acquired by the Cuyahoga Land Bank can immediately be turned around through renovation or demolition and these properties must be maintained to prevent further deterioration and safety hazards.  As a part of that maintenance, between May and October, the grass at these properties must be cut regularly.
“At the Cuyahoga Land Bank we are continually seeking mutually beneficial partnerships, such as the one we have with Koinonia,” said Frangos.  “We are thrilled to be able to provide a meaningful work experience for Koinonia clients.”
field_serviceThis month, the Koinonia work crew is concluding its second grass cutting season. In that time, Koinonia clients have regularly maintained 35 lawns, gained valuable work experience and improved the quality of life for neighboring residents.  According to Koinonia President & CEO, Diane Beastrom, the relationship has been a win-win. “The Land Bank had a need and Koinonia had the talent,” Beastrom affirms.  “We serve many people, all of whom have abilities and skills that make them an eager labor force.  They want to be productive. We are grateful to the Land Bank for the opportunity to fulfill both of our priorities.”

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