Cleveland Scholar House focuses on helping single parents pursuing college degrees

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – A new housing development for full time students aims to help single parents pursing a college degree.

The Cleveland Scholar House, believed to be the first of its kind for the area, is set to begin construction next summer on Community College Avenue. It will consist of 40 units for single parents of both Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College and feature in-house daycare services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has really shown a spotlight on the barrier that childcare can be for anybody,” said Andrew Katusin, Interim VP of Community Investment for the United Way.

A Cuyahoga Community College spokesperson said according to their financial aid office nearly 500 people applied at the Metro Campus for spring 2021 and indicated they are single with one or more dependents, providing a glimpse of the number of people per semester that could benefit from the Cleveland Scholar House.

CHN Housing Partners along with the United Way recently announced they secured the funding for the bulk of the $12 million project through a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency after trying for five years to get the project off the ground.

“So when you think about barriers for working families to be able to complete their college education, first you look at rent, which is something that is a core expense for anybody within our community … Then you look at childcare, and we’re going to be eliminating the barriers for both,” said Kevin Nowak, Executive Director of CHN Housing Partners.

Additional wrap around support, including mental health counseling and financial literacy, will be offered. Step Forward will provide childcare services.

The Cleveland Scholar House will have 33 two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units. Nowak said rent will be below $600. The building will also feature a computer lab, study space and child play space.

“The point is to have that all on site all highly accessible so that when folks are going to class or when kids are coming home from school all of those resources are on site so that transportation and having to spend the time driving to and picking up aren’t barriers for folks to be successful,” said Katusin.

CHN Housing Partners will be the developer, property manager and owner. Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority is also a partner in this project.

“The Scholar House is really a housing development that focuses on utilizing the power of a permanent address in order to change the trajectory of the lives of families here in Northeast Ohio,” Nowak said.

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