CLEVELAND - Members of Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity will take a bus tour of two target neighborhoods that will soon be given badly needed renovations.
The plan is to adopt two streets and repair up to six vacant homes in each neighborhood, a plan that will mark a new era for Cleveland's Habitat as it celebrates its 25th anniversary.
In the past, Habitat has been recognized for its efforts in rebuilding homes from the ground up. Now it will use the same dollars to refurbish several homes instead of building just one or two.
"The recent recession and its foreclosure legacy present opportunities to adopt streets and neighborhoods in which Habitat can make a significant impact in a relatively short period of time," said John Habat, Habitat's executive director.
"We are adopting two streets for our 2013 construction season that offer unique opportunities to advance existing revitalization efforts and be a catalyst of neighborhood renewal."
Habitat is in the process of acquiring vacant houses on both Colfax Road in the Lower Kinsman neighborhood, and Clement Avenue in Slavic Village, on the city's South Side.
Habitat told NewsChannel5 each street has about six vacant houses that can be economically rehabbed into safe, quality and affordable housing for lower-income families.
"These neighborhoods were the epicenter of the nation's foreclosure crisis," Habat said. "The symbolism of Habitat initiating a new era in its mission to alleviate housing poverty by adopting two streets in these struggling city neighborhoods is profoundly meaningful and compelling."
This initiative signals a new direction for the organization. Over the past 25 years, Cleveland Habitat built 170 new homes in Cleveland.
The average cost to build a new home is $200,000, three times more than when Habitat first started. In comparison, houses that Habitat has rehabbed have cost less than $50,000 per renovation.
NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods, Rebuilding Together, Slavic Village Development Corp.,and Burton, Bell, Carr Development Inc. will also be partners in the major renovation project, set to start on April 12.
This team of organizations will provide volunteers, tools, supplies, and awareness.
The houses on Colfax will be donated by the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
NewsChannel5 and Building Better Neighborhoods will provide day-long coverage of the event on April 12, and cover the renovation of homes on Clement Avenue in the late summer.
"Volunteers make Habitat happen," Habat said. "Without them, our mission could not be accomplished."
NewsChannel5 is trying to encourage residents to volunteer, and report vacant homes when it comes to dealing with condemned properties.
We're inviting residents to volunteer through our Building Better Neighborhoods initiative.
Residents can also report vacant homes by sending us pictures and information on condemned properties in our neighborhood, and we'll forward the information to your city building department in an effort to move the properties to progress.
More information on how residents can volunteer in their neighborhoods and make them better cab be found by contacting Hands on Northeast Ohio.