Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Approves Stimulus Checks

Dayana Sabatin

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The Cleveland City Council is expected to approve $5 million in COVID-19 stimulus funding for an affordable housing project which has actually now been in the process for years.

If approved during the upcoming Monday meeting, Cleveland will be spending $4,919,291 of its American Rescue Plan Act funds on the Woodhill Homes affordable housing project that aims to aid the city's Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhood.

This proposal passed the Development, Planning, and Sustainability Committee last week, as well as passed the Finance, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Monday afternoon.

The project includes adding outdoor spaces as well as repurposing an existing building to be a workspace for entrepreneurs.

The $5 million in ARPA funds will be going toward the second of six phases and will also go toward 77 housing units.

Ward 8 Councilman Michael Polensek stated numerous concerns about the city's housing plan, such as "that the city should invest in getting people into single-family homes."

"I just don't know if we should continue to be building multi-family complexes with all the vacant lots we have in this city. It's something I'm greatly concerned about," Polensek said.

City Council President Blaine Griffin said, "the Woodhill project is different from some other housing projects in that it aims to create mixed-income housing, rather than concentrating low-income housing into a single area."

There will be a mix of private and taxpayer dollars that will be funding the project, and city officials touted the private dollars as a way to "leverage" taxpayer money for maximum impact.

"When we talk about using ARPA dollars as leverage, this is exactly what we mean. The city is a partner in this, but it's a partner in a much smaller amount than the overall amount, and our benefit is huge," said Alyssa Hernandez, Cleveland's director of development.

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