Cleveland ministry looks to build solar-powered house for homeless

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 8:25 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry looks to expand their affordable housing resources by building a new, multi-unit home powered by solar power.

“The time is right for this initiative,” said the vice president of LMM, Michael Sering. “I think the technology is such that it finally makes financial sense to invest in this.”

The house will include four units, as well as a long roof lined with solar panels. Sering explains the primary benefit of solar power lies in the cost of utilities.

“It’s going to reduce the monthly utility bill from an average of $100 to $10,” he said.

Nolan White, a worker with LMM, knows just how expensive utilities can get for those on the brink of homelessness.

“In whatever housing they [my clients] went to, they leave behind utility debt, that’s like a barrier to them,” White said. “How does this person pay the utility, the money they owe them, plus the security deposit, plus the first month’s rent? It’s literally impossible.”

The elevated prices can result in situations such as one White saw first-hand with a tenant in the apartment he lived in: “What he did is he took an extension cord, plugged it into the laundry room, ran it to his apartment, now he’s not paying his electricity.”

The next step is to find a location for the new build.

For now, LMM is eyeing a few possibilities within the city’s seventh ward on the East side. The ministry hopes to have the house done by next year.

“The need for affordable housing is huge in Cleveland,” Sering said.

As the process continues, White and others on the group’s staff look to remind the community that people are ready to help others, regardless of their circumstances.

“Broken crayons still color,” White said.