CLEVELAND - Great volunteers have always been the core element that's driven Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity to success in placing needy families into quality housing. And Habitat's new housing renovation project will be no exception.
Starting on April 12, Habitat volunteer teams will start major repairs on a dozen vacant homes on Cleveland's eastside, with NewsChannel5's Building Better Neighborhoods providing additional volunteers.
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 Family Programs Manager Jessica Morrison told NewsChannel5 Habitat is hoping to place 12 needy families in the homes by the end of 2013, families that meet three basic requirements.
"The first is a willingness to partner with Habitat, all our families must put sweat equity into these homes," said Morrison. "Families must have the ability to pay their mortgage, and have the need for adequate shelter."
Residents interested in volunteering, or applying for housing, can call Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity, or sign up on the Habitat website.
Volunteer Programs Manager Kim Pride told NewsChannel5 Habitat is interested in volunteers in all age ranges and skill levels.
"We have volunteer orientation sessions twice a month, they are typically held during the day or on Saturdays," explained Pride. "We use volunteers not only for renovations, but also in our fabulous restore, and also in our office."
Work to rehabilitate vacant houses on Colfax Road will begin at 9 a.m. on April 12.
NewsChannel5 will provide day-long coverage of the event with live broadcasts on Good Morning Cleveland, noon, 5, 6, and 11 p.m. newscasts.
5 On Your Side is also trying to fight back against a growing number of vacant homes and building 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 can be found by contacting Hands on Northeast Ohio.