An update of the happenings at Cuyahoga Land Bank
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Soldier's Homecoming | Homeless Heroes | Veterans New Home - Memorial Day Veterans Feature

Tribute to Veterans

This Memorial Day, we salute all the men and women in all branches of the United States armed forces. Those who have served and who are still serving have sacrificed so much for our freedoms and our security. And we salute the families of all veterans, for they too often must endure hardships in the absence of their loved ones. 
We join in prayer for all of our veterans and their families that God would provide strength in times of weakness, comfort in times of grief, peace and hope in times of uncertainty. For all of us at the Cuyahoga Land Bank, we say to all our veterans past and present this simple message. Thank you!

Gus Frangos
President and General Counsel
Cuyahoga Land Bank

A Soldier's Happy Homecoming

Sometimes, choosing a home comes down to chemistry and when U.S. Army veteran, David Siebert, first saw the home in the City of Mayfield Heights, it was love at first sight.
He had just come home from the Yongsan District of Seoul, South Korea, where he had served as a Combat Medical Nurse. “I looked in the window and I have to admit, I was a little worried,” he says, laughing. “A huge part of the ceiling was missing – I could see the sky! It was open to the world.”Land Bank Staff
Siebert had chosen the house, though, while he was still overseas. He searched real estate websites for about six months, determined to buy a home near his family in Mayfield Heights, where he was raised. During his search, he came across the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s HomeFront Veterans Home Ownership Program, which featured the house in Mayfield Heights.
“It was so perfect for him,” says Vatreisha Nyemba, Compliance and Monitoring Manager for the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “He stated in his application that, 'owning a home in Mayfield Heights is a lifetime goal.' "
He contacted the Cuyahoga Land Bank right away. “I asked them, 'How can I make this happen?' It snowballed from that point.”
But there was work to be done. The house had been vacant for at Land Bank Staff least a year and was in serious disrepair. But the house had “good bones,” said Siebert; built in 1926, it’s on the small side, though it has three bedrooms and sits on a 150-foot-deep lot, adjacent to a baseball field.  The property was located on one of the oldest side streets in Mayfield Heights, “so there’s a lot of history here,” Siebert says.
Obviously the house needed a new roof. The kitchen had to be gutted and re-built from floor to ceiling and a new bedroom and bath were added in the rear. Pipes had burst during the winter, so the house needed new plumbing, new carpet and the electrical system had to be updated. “Every surface got touched,” Siebert says, including an alarm system, a new driveway, garage door and tree trimming.
“I feel really lucky,” says Siebert, now a full-time pre-med student at Notre Dame College in South Euclid. “Not only am I close to my family, but my best friend, a guy I’ve known since we were three or four years old, lives two streets away!”Land Bank Staff
And he can not  say enough good things about the Cuyahoga Land Bank and their commitment to returning veterans. “They want people in my situation to be able to find a home,” he says, “but even without the program that supports veterans, I would have purchased a property with the Cuyahoga Land Bank."
“I was able to be a full-time student while the Cuyahoga Land Bank rehabilitated the house, and when I walked in and everything was complete! They handed me the key and they practically gift-wrapped it for me!
“The Cuyahoga Land Bank saved me about a year of work,” he adds. “They really took care of me – I don’t ever plan to sell this house,” states Siebert.

Homes for Homeless Heroes

Land Bank Staff A new partnership between the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries will provide permanent affordable housing for the hundreds of homeless veterans living throughout Cuyahoga County. The Veterans’ Affordable Housing Initiative will “match” homeless veterans with affordable, renovated homes giving the veterans a permanent address and chance to live independently.
With help from the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries acquired a vacant East Cleveland home last year. The Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries 'Old Timers' veterans grLand Bank Staff oup made a major contribution in order for this initiative to launch.
The first home in the Veterans' Affordable Housing Initiative was completed by, King’s Sons 820, a Christian based workforce development ministry that provides mentoring and construction training for young men and prison re-entry clients.  Six veterans will be welcomed in to the completed home this summer.
“The Veterans’ Affordable Housing Initiative is an excellent example of the Cuyahoga Land Bank’s mission in action,” said Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “Our homeless veterans deserve their independence and a safe, stable place to call home.”

Veteran Finds New Home While Practicing Tai Chi

A tai chi instructor led retired Navy Veteran, Kevin Granfors, down the path of home ownership. Granfors, who served three years active duty and in the reserves, learned about the HomeFront Veterans Home Ownership Program (HomeFront program) during his regular practice at Crooked River Tai Chi in Parma.Land Bank Staff
Interested in purchasing his own home, Granfors contacted the Cuyahoga Land Bank and quickly learned he qualified for the HomeFront program.  The program allows veterans interested in purchasing either a move-in fully renovated home or a home that will be renovated with the assistance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank.
Finding a new home was easy as well. Granfors, a maintenance supervisor at the Northeast Ohio Regional SewLand Bank Staff er District, was on a work assignment when he noticed a home for sale in a nice, quiet neighborhood in Brooklyn. The home was recently renovated with the assistance of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Granfors, who enjoys working on cars and rides motorcycles during his free time, described his new house as “a garage with three bedrooms.”
“I was able to purchase a move-in ready house in a great neighborhood,” said Granfors. “The Cuyahoga Land Bank made the home buying process simple and easy to navigate.”
The HomeFront program launched in November of 2013 with a $100,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Council’s Veterans Services Fund and $100,000 of support from the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

Event-May 28th, 2015
Helping End Veterans Homelessness Land Bank Staff

A press event for the project will be held at 10am on Thursday May 28th, 2015 at 15300 St. Clair Avenue Cleveland, Ohio 44110 .  The event will announce, Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, (NEON) first planned Healthy Communities Initiative in partnership with the Cuyahoga Land Bank to renovate ten residential units in the Collinwood Neighborhood.  NEON's goal is to provide safe, affordable and desirable living spaces with access to health services for veterans and their families. 
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Fun Fact

Land Bank Staff The HomeFront Veterans Home Ownership Program and Veterans' Affordable Housing Initiative has assisted over ten veterans with their housing needs since the initiatives have launched.  The HomeFront program offers assistance for veterans to become homeowners. For further details on veterans interested in purchasing, please visit our website.

The mission of the Cuyahoga Land Bank is to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, support community goals and improve the quality of life for county residents.

Copyright © 2015 Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, All rights reserved.
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