CLEVELAND (April 1, 2024) – Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise), Rocket Community Fund, the City of Cleveland, and Cuyahoga Land Bank today announced the Make It Home Cleveland program, which will enable approximately 50 households living in tax forfeited properties to purchase and repair their homes.

Residents will be selected for the program through direct outreach conducted by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH). CHN Housing Partners (CHN) and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland will then work with each homeowner to provide housing counseling and support them to achieve sustainable homeownership. Cuyahoga Land Bank, which inspects and markets tax forfeited properties for productive reuse, will help residents acquire their homes.

The Make It Home program was first created by the Rocket Community Fund in 2017 to help eligible Detroit families at risk of tax foreclosure avoid displacement. Instead of losing the home to the tax auction, renters and other eligible residents are offered the first right to purchase their property for an average of $10,000. In total, the program has created 1,500 new Detroit homeowners. The Rocket Community Fund partnered with Enterprise, the City of Cleveland, CHN and Cuyahoga Land Bank to adapt the program to Cleveland, and participants will be able to purchase their property for a minimal acquisition cost.

The targeted program is focused on improving housing and neighborhood stability in the east side of Cleveland, where over 78% of tax delinquent properties are located and Black homeownership rates are disproportionately low. Prospective homeowners will receive a wide range of services, including one-on-one counseling, legal aid, and access to home repair grants and low-interest loans. In addition to funding from the Rocket Community Fund, this program will be supported by $1.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, including a previous allocation to CHN. Residents living in tax forfeited properties who are not interested or eligible for the program will receive housing stability services like relocation or legal assistance.

“Regardless of income, residents should have a pathway to putting down permanent roots in their communities. Make It Home Cleveland’s innovative approach provides end-to-end services to set new homeowners up for success. Expanding homeownership opportunities and preventing further negative impacts of foreclosure is critical to stabilizing neighborhoods and part of Enterprise’s commitment to advancing racial equity,” said Ayonna Blue Donald, vice president of the Ohio Market at Enterprise Community Partners.

"Displacement negatively effects everyone – uprooting families while creating vacancy that drives blight and instability,” said Laura Grannemann, Executive Director, Rocket Community Fund. “Building on valuable lessons learned from running Make It Home in Detroit, we’ve developed a program tailored to Cleveland residents that disrupts this cycle by creating and supporting new homeowners.”

“This is a significant investment for our east side residents and neighborhoods, which have chronically been neglected for decades.  This program both eases homeownership burdens and encourages reinvestment in neighborhoods that need it most – which is a win-win for our community,” said Mayor Justin M. Bibb.

“The Cuyahoga Land Bank is excited to partner with Enterprise Community Partners, Rocket Community Fund and the City of Cleveland on this important neighborhood stabilization initiative,” Cuyahoga Land Bank Acquisitions Manager Kim Steigerwald said. “Our mission is to revitalize our region one property at a time, provide housing opportunities and encourage responsible home ownership. This program fits perfectly within these efforts, and we look forward to extending our work through it.”

“We applaud this critical investment, and we look forward to leveraging the combined expertise of the Make it Home team to create new long term housing stability and homeownership opportunities in our community," said Kevin Nowak, president and CEO of CHN Housing Partners.

Make it Home Cleveland is also supported by United Way of Greater Cleveland, the George Gund Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, and the Third Federal Foundation.


Diane Cho