CLEVELAND - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald joined Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. and HOUSINGfirst to celebrate the official opening of Greenbridge Commons, a 70-unit housing development for people who were chronically homeless.
Through the Home at Last program, residents living at Greenbridge are provided with a safe, stable environment that allows them to recover from the effects of living in shelters or on the street. They can take advantage of on-site social services to get their lives back on track.
“What a homeless person who has been on the streets really needs first,” said Enterprise Vice President Mark McDermott, “is a comfortable safe unit of housing and then we can allow them to have access to services that can really help them to improve their lives. ”
The $12.6 million project, completed last fall, is now fully occupied and is located at East 75th Street and Euclid Avenue in Cleveland’s Fairfax neighborhood.
Amenities include individual furnished apartments with full kitchens and baths, a computer room for Internet access, a laundry room, and community room and kitchen for events, private mailboxes and a front desk that is staffed 24 hours a day.
Steve Yuengert, a machinist who eventually became homeless when Chrysler no longer needed the parts his company made, welcomes the chance recover from a rough economy.
“I’m so thankful for this place and everything that they’ve done to help me get back on my feet again.” McDermott said this type of housing works best for those that need a starting point to reclaim their lives.
“We often see homeless people on the street and don’t see that there’s much potential there, when in fact, giving them this type of stability in a home, in an apartment with services, just literally unleashes an amazing amount of potential," McDermott said.
Roughly 1,200 people in Cuyahoga County are chronically homeless. The chronic homeless are those people who have been continuously homeless for more than one year or who have experienced four separate episodes of homelessness over three years.
Greenbridge Commons is the fifth permanent housing unit for the chronically homeless. Two more housing developments are scheduled to open next year. Since 2006, 576 units have been developed by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. and HOUSINGfirst.
For more information on HOUSINGfirst, visit www.housingfirstinitiative.org
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