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Only one of its kind, hands on training is empowering residents in Slavic Village

Posted at 7:30 AM, Mar 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-18 07:30:06-04

It's a new twist in the push to re-develop an old part of town in Cleveland.

As part of our Cleveland Abandoned investigative series, we look at how one neighborhood is turning to training to bounce back in a big way.

Slavic Village, the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis, has struggled for years to battle blight.

Now, it's finally turning the corner and a unique program is empowering residents here to keep that momentum going.

The signs of improvement are showing up on streets across Slavic Village.

"Seeing a lot fewer vacancies," said Lynn Rodemann, Housing Outreach Specialist.

Run down historic houses are roaring back to life.

Millions of dollars of investment helping make it happen.

But now, there's a new tool to transform the neighborhood.

"We really see it as a vital piece to the revitalization of Cleveland," said Keesha Allen.

Allen runs the Home Repair Resource Center.

"We hope to educate and empower the residents to be able to take on home repairs," said Allen.
Allen’s organization, the only one of its kind in Cuyahoga County, is hosting hands-on workshops for homeowners in Slavic Village.

"Ceramic tile, basic carpentry, plumbing, and a little bit of electrical," said Allen.
Joe Linksy is among the first residents to take advantage of the training.

"It's certainly an empowering tool," said Linsky.
The goal of the program is simple: arm homeowners with the skills to maintain and beautify their property to spur much-needed growth.

"The more we can establish the City of Cleveland as dense as we can get it, I think the better our communities will be," said Linksy.

Those who run the program tell us the impact of the workshops are far-reaching.

"It starts in a classroom, but it moves beyond that. It moves into the community," said Rodemann.

A community that's changing with a lot of elbow grease. Not just from contractors, but those who call the neighborhood home.

"Neighbors start to see them doing things and now the neighborhood starts to revitalize itself," said Allen.
Building better homes, while strengthening relationships along the way.

"It was great to see people taking the time to pay it forward to the next person and be excited to show them what they just learned," said Linksy.

Soon, even more residents will have access to these workshops.

First time home buyers through Slavic Village Rediscovered will get a chance to take classes.

"The ability to acquire these skills is really and truly empowering," said Rodemann.

The Home Repair Resource Center offers classes to residents in the St. Clair-Superior, Buckeye-Woodhill neighborhoods of Cleveland, and Cleveland Heights.