Cleveland Neighborhoods Cooperate to Improve Urban Housing

Inner-city communities in Cleveland are banding together to help their residents take greater control of their housing quality through low-interest mortgage loans, education in home maintenance skills, and energy audits.

| July/August 1983

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance works to help urban residents gain greater control over their lives through the use of low-technology, decentralist tools and concepts. Because we believe that city dwellers and country folks alike can profit from the institute's admirable efforts, we've made this "what's happening where" report by the ILSR staffers one of MOTHER's regular features.

The Tremont neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio suffers from many of the same problems that plague most inner-city communities: A majority of its 12,000 residents are tenants who live in substandard housing and are forced—all told—to pay more than $10 million a year to utility companies for their energy needs. However, one major difference between Tremont and similar urban communities in other cities is that this Cleveland neighborhood is taking active and effective steps toward getting rid of their tenement woes.

You see, in Cleveland there is an extraordinary network of neighborhoods that has been formed to help different communities cope with their number one problem: housing. For the neighborhood on the way down, of course, this problem is manifested in neglected and abandoned buildings, which become dangerous fire hazards. Ironically, though, the average city dweller in areas that are on the way up suffers too, because of "gentrification": the influx of the wealthy, who raise property values (and thus, taxes) and displace long-term tenants.

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