The City Mission

Michelle Mendez had a big dream – to find housing for her and her seven children.  In October, her dream became a reality when the ribbon was cut on the first Hope House, a collaborative project with the Cuyahoga Land Bank, The City Mission and Church on the Rise in Westlake, Ohio.Land Bank Staff
Michelle and her children were living at Laura’s Home Women’s Crisis Center when they were selected as the first family to occupy a Hope House. “When I was told about the home, I was overwhelmed,” she said. “I thought, this can’t be happening.  When Pastor Paul (Pastor of Church on the Rise) introduced me as the one who was going to be living in the home, that’s when I realized it was a reality.  I wanted to cry because it was actually happening!”
Hope House is part of New Horizons, an initiative of the Cuyahoga Land Bank and The City Mission partnering with a sponsoring church to identify, acquire and renovate a house for families moving from Laura’s Home, a ministry of The City Mission. The sponsor for the house was Church on the Rise of Westlake. With the help of volunteer tradesmen and church parishioners, the house was turned into a home.
The church committed to ongoing property management and The City Mission devoted services to aid and strengthen the Mendez’s family transition.
The ribbon cutting event included Mendez’s family,  friends, and members of The City Mission, Church on the Rise and Cuyahoga Land Bank Chairman and Cleveland Councilman Anthony Brancatelli. Speaking at the event, The City Mission CEO Richard Trickel said, “We have a vision for providing homes for families. This is just the start and it’s our hope that this house will be a shining example of what can be done when people work together to meet the needs of others in the community.”
During the ceremony Michelle reflected on the tough times her family endured and on her appreciation for Laura’s Home, New Horizons, and her family’s new Hope House.
Michelle’s joy and appreciation was so visible and the renovation results so convincing that Pastor Tim Walker of Church Alive in Brook Park surprised the gathering by committing his church to be the sponsor for the next Hope House. “We all understand that home ownership is foundational for families building a secure financial future,” said Walker. “The problem has always been financial sustainability. I’ve been so inspired by this program that I’m making the commitment on behalf of Church Alive to sponsor the next Hope House. Over the next few years I think we can make a major impact on homeless families in the City of Cleveland.”
The Cuyahoga Land Bank and The City Mission look forward to partnering with more churches to create more Hope Houses for families. “This is a fabulous experience for us at the Cuyahoga Land Bank because our mission is to repurpose properties and fix homes, but that’s not what really excites us. What excites us is knowing that when you fix a home, you’re investing in someone’s life,” Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, said as he addressed the Mendez family and the crowd.  “There’s nothing better than having a place where you come home at the end of the day and know this is my home, this is home.”
Welcome home, Michelle!

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