While some of our urban neighborhoods continue to struggle to maintain affordable housing, unique collaborations among social service, faith-based and non-profit organizations are making a real difference in creating housing solutions for populations in need. Building Hope in the City (BHITC) is one such organization, working to restore the “city to God” by developing and linking people, communities and churches.
Beginning late in 2015, BHITC and several area Christ-centered non-profits came together with a faith-inspired vision to restore and transform communities on the near west side with housing as the tool, and Nehemiah Collaborative was born. This collaborative effort is a combination of Community Service Alliance, Family Ministry Center and BHITC.
To officially launch the collaborative in 2016, the partners completed a renovation of a home in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. Several donors gifted funds and resources to support the restoration efforts, and Royal Redeemer Lutheran Church, a long-time supporter of BHITC, was happy to make leadership funding available in the way of a two-year, zero-percent interest loan of $50,000 toward Nehemiah Collaborative. The only stipulation of the loan was that it be repaid directly to Crossroads Church, a church plant extension of Royal Redeemer.
The collaborative partners used the loan to also renovate a property on Behrwald Avenue in Cleveland’s Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to a grant from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, the group acquired the Behrwald property at no cost. The house was renovated by RenewCLE, a local home renovation business.
A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony were held in early May with representatives from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Royal Redeemer, RenewCLE and BHITC. “The Cuyahoga Land Bank is very pleased to participate in faith-based initiatives that not only uplift neighborhoods through renovating homes but also uplift lives and bring people together in this Christ-centered mission,” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “We encourage all faith groups to participate in our efforts to provide affordable, safe, and quality housing in our community,” he added.
The proceeds of this property will first pay off the loan to benefit Crossroads, then directly fund Nehemiah Collaborative’s next project in the Clark-Fulton neighborhood – a 2,500-square-foot, two-family home on Trowbridge Avenue which will house 6-8 veterans for independent living.
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