Kevin was born in Akron, OH and lived most of his life in the area, and spent time in Florida, as well. He went through an employment training program offered by North Point. After Kevin completed the training program, he was placed in a job at a factory where he worked for three years. Unfortunately, Kevin and other staff were laid off from the factory, and he found himself homeless.
He was staying at the men’s shelter located at 2100 Lakeside and decided to enroll back in the training program with North Point, in the hopes of finding new employment. As part of the training program, Kevin received an assessment and was diagnosed with a mental illness. He spent some time in the hospital, and then received outpatient care while doctors tried to find the best prescription medicine for his illness.
Kevin thought he would need to stay in the men’s shelter until he could find gainful employment again. He said he was surprised to find out that he was eligible for housing in a permanent supportive housing building. He recalled: “When I was at 2100, I didn’t know there were places like this, that were this nice, where I could build my future”.
Kevin moved into The Liberty in October of 2014. Kevin says he feels very independent living at the The Liberty. He stated that prior to this move, it had been very difficult to integrate consistent activities and behaviors into his life. He credits his case worker from FrontLine Services for telling him about permanent supportive housing and assisting him in moving in.
When asked what advice he might give others who struggle with homelessness, Kevin affirmed: “Be willing to accept help and work on your health”. He speaks very highly of Gerald, the property manager and stated: “The staff here have a difficult job to do, but they all pull together to make it safe and supportive for all of us”.
Kevin spends a large amount of his time volunteering at the Ohio City Bike Co-Op. We reached out to Erik Anderson, the volunteer coordinator at the Co-Op, and he had wonderful things to say about Kevin:
“Kevin is one of our favorite volunteers. He is definitely one of the more focused and dedicated people who support us. What's more important to know about Kevin, is that he has spent a large portion of the credits that he earns here, selflessly helping people in similar stations in life as himself to secure bicycles, and he also helps to maintain them. Wow. Kevin is definitely a big part of the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op family.”
When we asked Kevin what his goals for the future were, he shared that he has 3 goals for 2018 that he’s focusing on with his case worker: 1. Maintaining his health, 2. Deepening his spirituality, and 3. Getting his driver’s license back. His long-term goal is to find gainful employment, again.
We are so happy that EDEN’s permanent supportive housing has helped Kevin maintain his health and independence, and is enabling him to work towards achieving his goals. We are so proud to know that Kevin is on the right path to achieving his dreams for 2018, and beyond!
For more information on the Ohio City Bike Co-Op check out their website here: http://ohiocitycycles.org/
Michele joined the coast guard on her 18th birthday in 1976. She was honorably discharged after being diagnosed with a spine deformity. She went on to work at the Urban League of Cleveland, the IRS and Veterans Affairs office, all doing secretarial work. She typed nearly 100 words per minute and said she loved the quick pace of office work. In 1998, she suffered a heart attack at the young age of 40. Unable to work, she moved back in with her mother.
For years, Michele struggled with medical complications and issues with medications. After her mother’s death, Michele struggled greatly, and self-medicated with drugs and alcohol. Michele spent some time at the Norma Herr Women’s Center, the West Side Catholic Center, and the VA hospital. She credits the care of the staff and the nourishment of the food at the VA with getting her on the road to recovery and sobriety. Michele was able to move into Permanent Supportive Housing at the Commons at West Village in November of 2017. She stated that Toni, a staff person from the VA, was integral in helping her move into her new home.
Michele shared that “having my own place has kept me sober”. When asked what advice she would offer to others struggling with homelessness she stated: “Don’t give up before the miracle happens”. When in shelter, and now in her home, she has always tried to keep up to date on the news and current events. “If you can get to a computer, you can get to the world” she affirmed.
Michele is also an experienced knitter, and has been teaching other residents in her building how to knit. She knits scarves and hats and gives them to homeless people in shelters. She states it is important to always give back.
Michele will be celebrating her 60th birthday this month and is planning a party. She has not had a birthday party since she was 21 years old, and is looking forward to celebrating this milestone!
We are so happy that Michele has found the safety and security she deserves in her new home. EDEN wishes her a happy birthday and many more!
Thank you, once again, the Carter’s Store at Aurora Farms for donating over 350 pairs of pajamas to the children who live in EDEN housing! Carter’s Pajama program is nationwide, with the goal of donating 1 million pairs of pajamas to children in need.
Thanks also to Tabitha Peterson, Property Manager at EDEN for making the connection with Carters.
Pictured are Terri, Manager of the Carter’s Store at Aurora Farms and Irene Collins, Executive Director of EDEN as they prepare to load the PJ’s in the car for delivery to EDEN’s office.
Millions of children don't have a bed to call their own or clean pajamas. Many have never even heard of pajamas. Pajamas offer a simple escape from their immediate reality, a good night's sleep and a better tomorrow. Carter's Pajama program aims to reach as many kids as possible.
Tabitha recently celebrated her four year anniversary at EDEN. She is the Lead Scattered-Site Property Manager, and the Supervisor of Scattered-Sites. Tabitha currently has a caseload of 152 clients that are living in 45 properties.
Tabitha graduated with a degree in Social Work from the University of Akron, and is a licensed social worker. Prior to joining EDEN, she worked for other social service agencies and also in property management.
Tabitha shared that the most challenging part of her job is not always being able to give clients everything they desire, and that she has to remember that she is property manager, in her current role, rather than a social worker. She also shared that there is a high need for more family living, and sometimes, there are not enough units available when they are needed.
When asked what she finds the most rewarding part of her work Tabitha quickly affirmed, “The tenants! Interacting with the clients, and giving a person or family the keys to a safe place to live.”
When we asked Tabitha what advice she would have for someone experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness, she stated, "Stay positive, and keep working with your case manager".
EDEN so appreciates Tabitha-and all our staff-for their commitment to our mission, which is: " to provide housing solutions to people facing the challenges of housing insecurities and homelessness".
If you are a landlord and interested in working with EDEN, please contact us at: email@example.com
Michele has been serving on EDEN’s board of directors since 2015. Her friend and neighbor previously served on the agency’s board, and suggested she take his place when he stepped down. Because EDEN is a Community Housing Development Organization, (CHDO), and receives certain HUD funding, we are required to have representation on the board, (at least 1/3), from residents in low-income areas. Michele’s neighborhood falls within these guidelines and she states “I applaud and appreciate the organization having board members that live in low income areas”.
Michele grew up near the Zoo and lived in Slavic Village for a short while after marriage. She and her husband moved to the Detroit-Shoreway Neighborhood twenty years ago so their children could attend Urban Community School. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a degree in Social Service and Community Organizing. After starting a family she worked in schools, as a teacher’s aide and preschool teacher so she could have the same schedule as her children.
Before joining EDEN’s board, Michele served on committees for the Commission for Catholic Community Action, and the Campaign for Human Development. She was also a long-time volunteer at the West Side Ecumenical Ministries Food Center.
Michele said she decided to join the EDEN board because she wanted to “help solve housing and stability issues for my neighbors and the people of this city and county.”
When asked what Michele learned new about EDEN after joining the board, Michele related “the most interesting thing is the tremendous number of partnerships and relationships that EDEN has in the community…organizations, individuals, landlords and staff who are all working to break down barriers to housing.”
Helping others is woven into the fabric of Michele’s family. Her son is a Cleveland EMS paramedic and her daughter works for a youth homeless agency in Seattle. Michele credits her mother’s generosity, sharing that she was someone who always welcomed neighbors and friends over and said “the more the merrier!”
When asked what advice Michele would have for anyone who might be interested in joining EDEN’s board, she affirmed, “The cause of helping people find dignity by finding a place to call home is a rewarding one, a noble one, and most of all the right thing to do…everyone needs and deserves a place to call home.”
EDEN appreciates Michele, and all our board members, for their dedication to our mission, which is: "to provide housing solutions to people facing the challenges of housing insecurities and homelessness."
Anne grew up in Avon Lake Ohio, but ventured West after high school. She obtained her BA in Psychology from Bradley University in Illinois and a Graduate degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Madison in Wisconsin. After Grad School, Anne returned to Northeast Ohio and wanted to help vulnerable and marginalized communities. She has been part of the EDEN family for two and a half years as a housing locator, working with families. She works with families that are in shelters to assist them in securing safe and affordable housing so they can leave homelessness. Anne stated the biggest challenges are finding units that are large enough for some families, and also unit inspections.
Anne, like all EDEN housing locators, is an HQS certified inspector and looks at units prior to families moving in. She is looking for units that are child-friendly among other safety guidelines. When asked about the biggest reward of her work, Anne stated “Helping people get out of a shelter, and helping families getting their feet in the door of a new home.” When we asked Anne what advice she might have for families facing homelessness, she said “Don’t give up hope! There are people out there that are understanding and want to help.”
This month Anne is transitioning into a new role at EDEN as a community housing agent. In this new role she will recruit, educate and develop relationships with landlords to work with EDEN clients that receive housing assistance.
We appreciate Anne’s commitment to EDEN’s vision of administering safe, decent, affordable housing, which will enable our community’s most vulnerable individuals and families to live with hope and dignity!
Following an eviction in 2013, Tanisha and her daughter, who was then less than two years old, found themselves homeless. She recalls sleeping on floors with her baby girl, and not knowing where to turn. Tanisha heard of the social services agency, Murtis Taylor, and went seeking guidance and was matched with a case manager. She remained homeless, but never gave up hope, and was approved for housing through EDEN in April 2014. Tanisha loved the 2 bedroom she and her daughter moved into, and things were looking up. She was working, enrolled to finish her GED, and her daughter now had a comfortable bed and was attending a daycare in a loving environment.
In 2015, Tanisha received a distressing phone call. Her sister’s children would be placed in foster care if no family member could care for them. Tanisha felt it was her duty to take in her nieces and nephews. She quickly went from caring for one child, to five. Tanisha notified EDEN’s Lead Scattered Site Property Manager about her situation. “I love Tabitha, she is such a sweetheart!”, Tanisha recalled, when telling us about that phone call. Tanisha’s two bedroom no longer felt so big, and she was put on a waiting list for a larger unit.
When asked what advice she would give to others facing homelessness, Tanisha said “Don’t give up…Everyone has a story to tell, don’t shut yourself down, open up, swallow your pride and ask for help.”
Just this week, Tanisha received the keys to a larger rental property that will provide adequate room for her and the children, including a yard for them to safely play. Tabitha tells us Tanisha and the kids ran around their new home, squealing with joy and hugging her. “That’s the best part of my job,” said Tabitha.
EDEN is happy to be able to help Tanisha be the mother, aunt, and guardian she works so hard to be. We wish her continued success, and hope the kids have a wonderful new school year—with lots of room to spread out their books and do their homework!
Marie met her husband, Robert, in 1995 and they were married later that year. After Robert fell at work, breaking his ribs and back, he struggled to heal and find stable work, and subsequently turned to drinking. Sober but homeless, Robert and Marie spent time living with Robert’s AA sponsor and then staying with family. Robert diligently followed the AA program, and the happy couple had 2 sons, Ken and Richie. Richie was diagnosed with a form of autism at an early age and required assistance, so Marie could not work. Needing stable housing for themselves and two boys was difficult, and although they were approved for an EDEN program, they were on a waiting list before they could get housing.
In 2006, the family was able to move into an apartment with the help of EDEN. In 2009, the family moved into in a single-family ranch home. In 2010, Robert’s infant grandson, AJ, arrived to live with Robert, Marie, and the boys.
Sadly, Robert passed away in April, one month after a cancer diagnosis. With the assistance of EDEN’s Lead Scattered Site Property Manager, Tabitha, Marie was able to remain in her home with the 3 boys. Marie recounted, “Tabitha went out of her way to help me after my husband’s death, so that we could stay in stable housing”. When asked if she has advice for other families struggling with housing stability Marie stated, “When you have an opportunity, make the best of it….Once you get a permanent place, do whatever you need to do to maintain it.”
When asked about her goals, Marie stated that she is still in the process of adjusting from her husband’s death. She has a counselor who is helping her with her grief, and she plans to continue therapy, set up a schedule of chores for the house, and ask the boys for help when she needs it.
Marie says parents should “Do what needs to be done for your children”, and that is what she has always done, even when it has been very hard. Marie always wanted a single-family house so her boys could have their own yard. “Living in this house is such a blessing,” she affirmed.
EDEN is happy that Marie and her boys continue to maintain the loving home that they so cherish, and hopes the boys enjoy a wonderful school year!
Mia and her daughter Maliyah have been residents in EDEN Scattered Site Housing for the past three years. They live independently in their own apartment, and receive rental assistance and related services from EDEN.
Mia relayed that it has been a long road to roam for her and her daughter. She struggled to find decent paying employment because she had not finished high school, and her stress was compounded when she became a parent. Mia went to Hitchcock Home for Women to get help addressing some bad habits she had formed, and then spent time at Laura’s Home. Finally, with EDEN housing, and a good support system in place, Mia and Maliyah were able to achieve independence and move into their own home.
Mia is working full-time and taking classes on-line to get her high school diploma. Once she accomplishes this goal, she hopes to attend Tri-C or another educational institution and complete a program in the medical field. When asked what she would say to others who struggle with homelessness she said “Our decisions and choices put us where we are.” Mia said it is best to make a plan, look at the long-term, and figure out what you need to do to not only secure housing, but maintain it. Mia credited EDEN’s Scattered Site Property Manager, Tabitha, with helping her to “put my priorities in perspective” for the past three years.
Maliyah is starting school this week, and is excited to begin the 8th grade.
All of us at EDEN wish Mia continued success, and hope Maliyah has a wonderful school year!
Mark grew up in Cleveland and graduated from Lakewood High School. He enlisted in the Army and served from 1972-1976. He spent time in Germany and Panama. He was medically released from duty after his ear drum was ruptured during a training exercise. Mark went on to get married and have 2 children. He worked in construction for many years, then in maintenance for a commercial property company.
During a difficult life change in 1991, Mark says his problems with alcohol grew, even though he maintained employment. After his alcoholism took hold of his life, Mark eventually lived in and out of shelters for a number of years. He checked himself into a rehabilitation center for his alcohol dependency in November 2015.
Mark has lived at South Point Commons, one of EDEN's permanent supportive housing complex, for 8 months. He tells us he is looking forward to obtaining his 1 year sobriety chip from Alcoholics Anonymous in less than 2 weeks. Mark says living in a PSH building “was an opportunity to get my life back together”. He recalls one trip to the hospital and he almost ended up in a coma from complications with alcohol. “I was just sick and tired of it all."
When asked who assisted him in securing safe and stable housing, he spoke about Tyrone, an outreach worker with Care Alliance, one of our Housing First partners. “Tyrone should be given a medal of honor”. With the help of Tyrone, Ruth--a VA social worker--and staff at EDEN, Mark was able to move off the streets, and into his own one-bedroom apartment.
Mark now works part-time with his brother, installing, cleaning, and maintaining ponds. He also volunteers weekly at St. Malachi’s serving food to the homeless, and told us, “I like to talk to people when I see them, and tell them where they can go for help." He also knows that sometimes coming off the streets isn’t easy, and affirmed, “Unless you’re ready to get help, you’re not going to accept it." Mark says he has been thoroughly enjoying living at South Point and brings his grandchildren, (he has 7), to visit him, often, so he can babysit for his children.
When asked what he likes most about the PSH he said: “You get a lot of support when you move-in The staff are just wonderful." He flashed a smile and exclaimed, “Ms. Wilson is wonderful; I am very grateful for her!”, referring to the Property Manager, Nicole.
When asked what advice he might have for other people experiencing homelessness Mark said “I tell them to get a hold of EDEN; I recommend this PSH model to everyone."
We are so happy Mark is thriving in his new home, and wish him continued success at his job, and in his sobriety.