Rehabbing vacant homes is a FutureHeights priority

The renovations of two homes generously given to FutureHeights by the city of Cleveland Heights are almost complete.

Late last year, FutureHeights embarked on partnerships with Frank Kuhar of Revived Housing Partners and Michael Leonetti of Yosemite Construction to completely renovate the homes located at 2124 Rossmoor and 901 Englewood roads. Both contractors are local to Cleveland Heights: Kuhar lives in Cleveland Heights with his daughter, and Yosemite’s office is newly located on Taylor Road.

Both homes had been vacant for a number of years and required complete renovation. Each home has all new mechanicals, including new roofs, HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. The kitchens and bathrooms have been completely gutted and feature new cabinets, appliances, ceramic, and granite.

The home on Englewood features an attached garage and an unbelievable backyard space. The property on Rossmoor features a brand-new full bath in the lower level. Stay tuned for more information.

In addition to the two renovations currently underway, the FutureHeights Revitalization Committee has been working diligently to gather information to help guide programming. The committee is primarily focused on two areas, in-fill housing designs and addressing issues of existing housing stock, and meets regularly to review data and strategize best ways to preserve, maintain, and improve the city’s housing stock.

At the end of 2023, FutureHeights’ Revitalization program received a generous award from the Cleveland Heights ARPA allocation, providing funding through 2026. This will allow FutureHeights to expand its existing home-acquisition program to better target its efforts for a more comprehensive impact. Funds also will be used to create pre-approved new home designs to help reduce the time and cost associated with building new homes in Cleveland Heights.

Building code, zoning issues, and tax-abatement eligibility are all examples of the information the committee is gathering to best create new home designs, in addition to assessing overall “buildability” of available parcels. The committee is also reviewing design guidelines and best building practices. With information in hand, the committee will be working with a design professional to create pre-review, approved new home-building plans.

A large part of the Cleveland Heights economy lies in its housing stock. FutureHeights’ FutureHomes program began in 2019 to protect housing and help address issues affecting the local housing stock and its value. Vacancies, foreclosures, and disrepair, in addition to a surge of out-of-state investors, continue to plague the city’s housing even after the foreclosure crisis of 2008.

The goal of ensuring Cleveland Heights' existing housing stock is occupied and in its best condition requires a strategy as diverse as the issues affecting the city’s housing, as each situation can be quite different from the next. Collaboration is the key. Working together with the city; Cleveland Heights Municipal Court; other organizations, such as Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC); property owners; and residents is essential to bring about real change.

As a nonprofit organization, FutureHomes is driven by its mission of protecting the city’s housing stock, not by profit.

Hilary Schickler

Hilary Schickler is the FutureHomes and Revitalization director for FutureHeights.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:40 AM, 03.28.2024