Several times a year the Cleveland Life Institute sponsors leaders to come and speak to the community about their experiences and training.
This free presentation by was sponsored by the Cleveland Life Institute. Guest speaker, Jim Rokakis – former Cuyahoga County Treasurer and current Vice President & Director of Thriving Communities of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy spoke about “Abandoned Housing in Cleveland” .
The slides showed the true story of the monster that ate Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs. It clearly showed Cleveland’s vacancy crisis as it expanded to swallow up neighborhood after neighborhood.
With the loss of population, the weakened economy, the housing bust, and foreclosures there are hundreds if not thousands of houses that are in bad shape or sitting empty in the city of Cleveland. Perhaps half of these houses are in bad enough shape that they are beyond saving from demolition. This is a very location driven problem. Some neighborhoods are affected more than others. It is easy to say this is an inner city problem since homes in outer-ring suburbs get purchased, rehabilitated and placed back on the market quickly.
No matter where you live, abandoned homes do affect you. An inner city that looks like a war zone takes a toll on even outer suburbs making them a less desirable place to live. “You might think you’re safe because you live in a suburb like Strongsville, or Chagrin or Brecksville or Bay Village, but the reality is, it’s the loss of value in the city and the inner ring suburbs that has driven property taxes up for people all over the county,” said Jim Rokakis, vice president of the Western Land Reserve Conservancy. “It’s destabilizing these neighborhoods and that destabilization tends to migrate outwards.”