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.”