This veteran housing initiative has wound up doubling as an east-side restoration effort

Source: WOIO
Source: WOIO

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - With an estimated 1,800 homeless veteran families struggling to find a place to live in Greater Cleveland, according to the Northeast Coalition for the Homeless, every home that comes online is a big help.

And now, there is some new veteran housing on the city's east side.

Robert Creteur says he served in the U.S. Navy for three years, 11 months and 27 days. Creteur did his duty for God and country serving in the U.S. military, and is among those interested in learning more about this new housing for veterans. It's made available in what was a burned out, condemned, slated to be torn down apartment building at East 153rd and St. Clair Avenue.

"It's very important. It's good. This is nice here. It's convenient to all the transportation. That's a good thing and there's a health center right across the street," he said.

Carolyn Swoope is the project manager. She says these units are not just for veterans, but for his or her family as well. Swoope says keeping a veteran's support system in place is a good thing.

"Up here we have three nice size bedrooms," she said, giving a tour of one of the units. "We have a fully renovated, full bath room. You can everything, new floors. New electrical, new pluming, new HVAC units."

Development consultant, Arthur Fayne, learned his love of community at the skirt of former Ward 7 Councilwoman Fannie Lewis. Years after her death, he's keeping the spirit of neighborhood alive by partnering the Northeast Ohio Health Services/NEON and the County Land Bank to reclaim and rebuild.

"The most unique thing is not only are we going to be able to house veterans and their families, but we are also going to provide some support services," he said. "Less than 1,000 feet away is the NEON facility, the Collinwood Health Care Facility -- inside of there they will be able to receive behavior health and physical health for their ailing bodies."

And that's just phase one. Right behind the six units is a four-unit building with restoration set to begin in about a month.

"We're starting to take applications now," Fayne said. "We looking for the middle of August or the end of August for our first tenants to be residing in these units and laying their head on a pillow."

The project hopes to spearhead the reclaiming of vacant land, abandoned houses, and buildings, and putting them back on the tax roles.

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