New supportive housing development in Cleveland to serve transition-aged youth experiencing homelessness
CLEVELAND, MAY 20, 2021—Partners in Cuyahoga County’s Housing First initiative today announced a partnership with A Place 4 Me to design a new 50-unit supportive housing development specifically to serve transition-aged youth age 18 to 24 (TAY) experiencing homelessness. The partners recently attracted low-income housing tax credits from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to help fund the $12 million development, which has an anticipated opening in summer 2023 in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood.
In 2019, roughly 570 young adults sought homeless services through Coordinated Entry, the front door to all of Cuyahoga County’s homeless services. Given limited capacity, only a small percentage of those individuals were able to access supportive housing.
A Place 4 Me serves hundreds of young people each year and works in partnership with its own REACH Youth Action Board toward a goal of preventing and ending youth homelessness in Cuyahoga County. Recognizing the need for supportive housing resources for young adults, A Place 4 Me will join Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Enterprise Community Partners, CHN Housing Partners, EDEN Inc. and FrontLine Service to help transition-aged young people move out of homelessness through the new Cuyahoga TAY supportive housing development.
“This development is vital to help young adults, who are in a very vulnerable state, and it can only be effective when those it will serve are partners in its creation,” said Kai Cotton, lead youth navigator at A Place 4 Me and chair of the REACH board. “Young people are the experts in their own lives. With the leadership of the REACH board and the capacity and resources of the many housing partners, this is a powerful opportunity to uniquely support the youth in our community.”
The young adults who comprise the REACH board of A Place 4 Me all have lived expertise in homelessness, housing instability or child welfare, and the group has collaborated in planning, site location and building design. REACH board members will continue to inform the planning process, including the development of services and building policies and procedures.
CHN Housing Partners and EDEN Inc. will serve as development co-owners, with CHN as lead developer and EDEN as co-developer and property manager. FrontLine Service will operate as the lead onsite service provider, and Enterprise Community Partners and A Place 4 Me serve as convening partners for the collaborative initiative. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland catalyzed funding for the development, and Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services (OHS) and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority have committed to providing operating support in the form of rental subsidies. Additional funding sources will be accessed through the private sector; federal, state and local governments; and philanthropy.
All partners in the Cuyahoga TAY supportive housing development recognize that young adults aspire to have a safe place to call home and a necessary foundation for meeting their needs and achieving their dreams. Supportive housing links well-designed, safe, affordable housing with flexible, voluntary support services designed to help individuals maintain housing, meet their goals and thrive in the community. Residents in the TAY development will coordinate with property management and service providers to set individual goals related to housing stability, education, employment and well-being.
“We have seen that young adults often choose not to access traditional homeless services, which provide support for a vast range of individuals at many ages and stages of life, and may feel intimidating,” said Melissa Sirak, program director, Cuyahoga County OHS. “This new TAY development will meet young people where they are and help prepare them for success in their next phase of life. It is an exciting and much-needed addition to Cuyahoga County’s homeless continuum of care.”
Residents will be identified through partnership with Coordinated Entry and outreach services. The Cuyahoga TAY supportive housing development will include both one- and two-bedroom units to ensure adequate space for the roughly 25 percent of young adults who are parenting while experiencing homelessness. Roughly 75 percent of young adults experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County are African-American. National estimates suggest more than 40 percent identify as members of the LGBTQ community. Racial and LGBTQ equity, as well as youth leadership, hospitality, a relationship-centered approach and flexibility, are among the core values of the Cuyahoga TAY development.
“This new development will do two important things,” said Ward 10 Councilman Anthony Hairston. “First, it brings $12 million in welcome investment to the St. Clair Superior neighborhood, and second, it provides young people experiencing homelessness with beautiful, safe and well-maintained housing, as well as the skills, support and relationships to succeed.”
Cuyahoga County’s Housing First initiative completed in 2020 its 13th permanent supportive housing development, creating enough housing to meet the projected need of adults experiencing long-term homelessness in Cuyahoga County.
On an ongoing basis across Cuyahoga County, adults experiencing homelessness can access shelter by contacting Coordinated Entry at 216-674-6700, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., and by calling United Way 2-1-1 after 8:00 p.m. and on weekends. Youth and young adults experiencing homelessness or housing instability, can contact Christie Sozio at A Place 4 Me by calling or texting 440-823-7227 or emailing email@example.com. A Place 4 Me connects each young person served with a Youth Navigator to support understanding and access to resources.