Cleveland Scholar House to Bear Honorary Name of Louise C. Stokes
Community Collaboration Aims to Break the Generational Cycle of Poverty
for Parents and Their Children
Watch a video of the event here.
Cleveland, June. 15, 2022 – CHN Housing Partners (CHN) and United Way of Greater Cleveland (UWGC) announced today that Cleveland Scholar House, a 40-unit service-enriched apartment building for parents who are college students, will be named after Louise C. Stokes, mother of the late Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and the late Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes. The announcement was made at the development’s groundbreaking ceremony today attended by partners, funders, elected officials, and Stokes family members.
Cordell Stokes, the son of Mayor Carl Stokes, Alex Stokes, granddaughter of Congressman Louis Stokes, and Brett Stokes Hammond, grandson of Congressman Louis Stokes, represented the Stokes family.
“Louise’s impact on her family, this community and our nation was a result of back-breaking work that gave her children the opportunity to become educated and serve,” they said in a joint statement. “Louise would be so proud today as this community comes together to support single parents who are working hard to earn a college degree and make a future for themselves and their children.”
The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House will remove barriers to economic opportunity by providing affordable housing and wrap-around services for adult college students and their children to support educational success. The first of its kind in the Cleveland area, the successful Scholar House model was pioneered in Kentucky.
“We are thrilled that this new facility will bear the name of Mrs. Stokes,” said Kevin J. Nowak, executive director of CHN Housing Partners, “The Louise C. Stokes Scholar house will stand as a testament to her unwavering support of her children and the importance she placed on education. We at CHN believe that stable, affordable housing unlocks the keys to success for both parents and their children.”
CHN Housing Partners is developing the project and will own and manage the property. United Way of Greater Cleveland convened community partners and rallied support for the project.
“Fifty percent of Cleveland’s children live in poverty, and less than 8% of single mothers who live in poverty complete their post-secondary education, but we refuse to let poverty define our city,” said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland. “The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House’s two-generation approach is designed to end poverty’s stranglehold on the lives of the parents and children who enter its doors, and we’re delighted it is named after such an inspiring Cleveland figure.”
The City of Cleveland committed $1.2 million in funding for project construction.
“The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House is precisely the type of development we need in our city to break the cycle of poverty and plant seeds for a brighter future for Cleveland,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb who spoke at the event.
Cleveland Ward 5 Councilman Richard Starr, who also spoke at the event, said, “We have young parents who are hungry for opportunity and want to make an impact. This development will give them the support they need to succeed.”
Other key partners include Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Step Forward, Cleveland State University (CSU), and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®).
The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House Partners will offer the following for students and their children:
- Stable Housing — Located within walking distance of CSU and Tri-C®, the two and three-bedroom 40-unit building will include a daycare, study space, a computer lab, common space for parenting classes and family activities, as well as child play space.
- Rental Support —CMHA will provide 40 project- based vouchers and lease the land for the building.
- High Quality Childcare — Step Forward will provide daycare at its five-star William Patrick Day Early Learning Center next door.
- Academic Support —CSU and Tri-C® will provide life skills, academic counseling, and cohort support for the first-generation college students.
- Resident Services —CHN, United Way and others will coordinate wrap-around services, including mental health counseling, financial literacy, and access to benefits and other services.
The development is located at Community College Avenue, within walking distance of both Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) and Cleveland State University (CSU). The project is funded by a Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) award from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Other funders include the City of Cleveland, The William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation and RSM US Foundation. Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. is the equity investor and Citizens Bank is the construction lender. Hiti, DiFrancesco + Siebold designed the building and Regency Construction Services, Inc. is the general contractor.