The program we got involved with is run by Northeast Shores CDC. They are committed to developing the North Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland. Here’s a link to information about the program:
For those of you not from the area, North Collinwood is a burough of Cleveland that sits on the lake in the north eastern most part of the city. Once upon a time it was home to Euclid Beach Park, something like Cleveland’s answer to Coney Island. Now all that exists of the original amusement row are some run down condo/apartment buildings, the stone archway, and a turn of the century carousel that was saved by a local museum. The neighborhood has three main roads/economic centers: Lakeshore, that runs parallel to the lake’s shoreline, Waterloo that runs on the other side of the neighborhood adjacent to I-90, and 185st, that runs perpendicular to the other two and creates a kind of triangle that frames the neighborhood.
The Build Your Dream Program is one of two housing programs Northeast Shores runs. Here’s the essentials of the program:
- NES takes in houses from the city and county landbank. These are vacant properties that have been taken over by the local municipalities and then sold on to interested parties.
- NES evaluates each property and creates a spec sheet of repairs that need to be made to make the property both livable and an asset to the neighborhood. Their spec sheet goes beyond the bare minimum that you might need to do to satisfy the city for an occupancy license.
- They then sell these homes for $6500 plus closing costs to qualified applicants. There’s no difference in the structure of the deal based on the house you want. We saw small, 2 bedroom brick houses, duplexes, and more. All of them are $6500.
- After you’ve been approved through their application process, you sign a contract as part of the sale that obligates you to fix the place up as per their spec sheet and commit to living in the property for 4 years from the time of sale. If you violate either of these conditions, then a reverse deed clause kicks in and they can take the house back without compensation.
That’s pretty much it. There’s a certain amount of trust needed on everyone’s part. We trust them not to snatch the property back after we’ve started putting money into it. They trust us to move here and take part in the community. Northeast Shores is an organization of do-gooders who genuinely care about their mission to make this neighborhood better. More than anything, they’ve sold us on a vision. I genuinely believe this neighborhood is on an upswing that will have tangible positive changes over the next year to two years that will make this an awesome place to live.