An update of the happenings at Cuyahoga Land Bank
Federal Reserve "Getting Back in Gear" Summit Draws Crowds | Still Growing Literally-Old Brooklyn Style - Cuyahoga Land Bank News - 2014.4.2

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland "Getting Back in Gear" Summit Draws Crowds

Activists, experts and people seeking to learn more about stalled and vacant foreclosures filled the tenth floor of The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland for the Getting Back in Gear Summit last month.  The topic was so popular that another 100+ people streamed the Summit live.
The Summit focused on a very specific question: What do communities do with vacant and abandoned homes wherein the bank or mortgage company never completed a foreclosure? Often, these homeowners vacated the property under the impression they had already lost their home to the bank, which holds the lien and is ultimately responsible for keeping the property secure.
Getting Back in Gear
This is the vexing question: why didn’t the bank actually initiate or complete the foreclosure?  When the cost of the foreclosure procedure is higher than the value of the property itself, banks often choose not to proceed.
Vacant and stalled foreclosures are a lose - lose for everyone.  As a home sits vacant, it becomes dilapidated due to lack of care, lowering the safety and security of the neighborhood and the value of surrounding homes.  Combined, these factors have negative impacts across the community. 

The first panel, consisting of Daren Blomquist, Vice President of Realty Trac, and A. Nicole Clowers, Director of the Government Accounting Office, defined the problem.  According to their data, 21% of all foreclosures currently in progress across the country are vacant of which Ohio has a significant number.
On the featured panel, Gus Frangos, President and General Counsel of the Cuyahoga Land Bank, Frank Ford from Thriving Communities Institute, Craig Nickerson from the National Community Stabilization Trust and Spencer Cowan from the Woodstock Institute discussed local responses to stalled and vacant foreclosures.
One such response is the Cuyahoga Land Bank's
partnerships with Fannie Mae, HUD, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, wherein the Cuyahoga Land Bank in its partnerships receive properties held by these institutions and move them back into productive use either through renovation or demolition.  The Cuyahoga Land Bank has acquired more than 2,250 properties as a result of such agency agreements.

Still Growing - Literally -  Old Brooklyn Style!

We surprised a lot of readers last summer with our story about Rising Harvest Farms in Old Brooklyn. Who could imagine a 2.3-acre farm in the heart of the city?
But with eight crop fields, 24 plots, a chicken coop and two greenhouses, the farm—a project of
Koinonia Homes, an organization providing residential, vocational and support services for more than 450 disabled citizens—was a rousing success. “We sold 65 Market Basket shares last year,” says Jerry DeLiberato, Koinonia’s Vice President of Business Development, “and already we’ve sold out all 120 slots for 2014.”
Market Basket is part of the nationwide network of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in which anyone can subscribe for a share, or half-share, and receive ultra-fresh food every week. “Rising Harvest Farms is a great place to get fresh, healthy vegetables,” says Gus Frangos, President of the Cuyahoga Land Bank. “It also is a shining example of service to the community and to our disabled citizens.”
But subscribers occasionally drop out of the program—and the good news is, you can join the waiting list at for shares that might become available. The weekly harvest can include eggs, salad greens, kale, spinach, red and green scallions, basil—whatever crops and foods are ready that week—as well as locally-made food products like pastas from Ohio City Pasta. Proceeds pay for the farm’s upkeep and wages for workers who are clients of Koinonia Homes.
Rising Harvest wants to add two new hoop houses—low tunnel shaped greenhouses where farm workers can grow spinach, lettuces and any other crops they need. The hoop houses are pricey, though—between $18,000 and $20,000 each—but they make it possible to raise and sell fresh produce year-round.
And, as of January, 1, Rising Harvest now participates in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), the USDA’s national standards-setting program that sets  food safety procedures for small farms.
“We’ve documented our processes all along,” DeLiberato says, “and it’s a lot of work—but it helps us to implement procedures that will make us more efficient.”
“We feel the GAP program is where things are going for all small farms,” he adds. “It’s especially meaningful for Rising Harvest because it will help us get access to prospective customers we wouldn’t otherwise connect with, such as food brokers who deliver food to schools.”
So the more they grow, the more they grow. Rising Harvest recently hosted an Open House to showcase the farm and recruit volunteers;  you can find more details at
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Did You Know?

The Cuyahoga Land Bank has a new and improved FAQ page complete with all of the Land Bank FAQ series videos from our YouTube channel! Find helpful answers to questions about the Cuyahoga Land Bank's programs, property pipelines and organizational structure. Explore the FAQ page on our website today!

Bid on this Home
Before May 30th!

This home at 25370 Richards Avenue in Euclid requires minimal renovation and is now available under the Advantage Plus Loan Program. Minimum bid starts at

Fun Fact!

The Cuyahoga Land Bank recently hit three production milestones! Since opening our doors in June 2009, we have acquired our 4,000th property, demolished our 2,500th property and facilitated the renovation of our 860th property! These milestones are a testament to our hardworking and tireless Acquisition and Demolition Team directed by Cheryl Stephens and our Programs and Property Management team directed by Dennis Roberts and to all our staff who make the day-to-day operations of the Cuyahoga Land Bank run so smoothly and efficiently! Check out this Cuyahoga Land Bank milestones feature article on News Channel 5's website!

Home for Sale in Cleveland

This home at 15908 Pythias Avenue in Cleveland requires renovation and is now available through our Deed-in-Escrow Program.

Renovated Home For Sale in Cleveland Heights

This colonial style home at 908 Selwyn Road in Cleveland Heights was renovated in-house by the Cuyahoga Land Bank and is listed for sale. For details on this property, please call 216-698-8853 and for a list of other homes currently under renovation, 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 © 2014 Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, All rights reserved.
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