The mission of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority is to be the leader in providing safe quality affordable housing for individuals and families of Cuyahoga County.
In 1933, the State of Ohio chartered CMHA as the first public housing authority in the country. Early in the 1930s, Ernest Bohn, a Cleveland Councilman, spearheaded the effort to establish public housing as a replacement for the tumbledown shanties where low-income families lived. His vision was to replace the broken down fire-traps with safe, decent, affordable housing where families could get a start in life and then move on to home ownership.
Ground was broken at Olde Cedar in the Central neighborhood before any other public housing development in the country. Residents first occupied Olde Cedar in 1937. Lakeview, Outhwaite Homes and Woodhill Homes quickly followed the construction of Olde Cedar; all four of those properties are eligible for designation on the National Historic Register.
Cedar Extension High-Rise was the first of the high-rise buildings constructed to provide affordable housing for seniors. It was first occupied in 1955. Since then, CMHA has either built or purchased 16 other high-rise buildings designated for residents over the age of 50.
Following enactment by Congress in 1974 of the law establishing the Section 8 Program, which provides subsidies for low-income families to live in privately owned housing, CMHA began local administration of the program. The initiative, now known as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, currently serves over 11,000 families.
In the early 1990s, CMHA pioneered the use of defensible space design concepts to modernize family units at King Kennedy, Outhwaite Homes and Carver Park, improving resident safety with private entryways, exterior lighting and perimeter fencing. This concept was also used in the nationally renowned Tremont Pointe, formerly Valleyview Homes.
CMHAs dedication to serving the interests of low income families spans further than providing affordable housing. In the winter of 1992, CMHA opened Miracle Village at the Outhwaite Homes estate. It is the first residential substance abuse treatment center in the country located within public housing. Miracle Village serves women and their children and combines treatment of addiction with parenting, education, and job training and life skills. There is also a primary health clinic located at the property.
In June 1996, CMHA dedicated and opened the Carl B. Stokes Social Services Mall, the first one-stop shopping facility in the country offering a variety of social services, healthcare, career counseling, and training services. The Mall was constructed within the King Kennedy South High-Rise building, which had previously housed unmarketable efficiency apartments.
More recently CMHA has continued striving to improve the lives or all residents by building recreational splash parks on 4 different properties, launching the Sarah J. Harper Childrens Library, and honoring former Outhwaite resident, Congressman Louis Stokes, with his own museum.
The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority offers a wide array of services to its thousands of costituents through a variety of services and programs. Before many families and younger individuals can achieve economic self-sufficiency, they may need access to supportive services to develop certain life skills and the essential tools for success. Others, including seniors, want an enriched life.
Led by the Resident Services Department, CMHA has forged partnerships with community agencies and non-profit organizations equipped to meet the full range of needs of CMHA residents in the areas of health, education and social service. Families receive comprehensive case management to determine needs, and are then referred to service providers as needed. Such necessary services include: health and wellness services, education, social services, drug abuse prevention, training and employment, resident entrepreneurship, recreation and social activities and child care.
CMHA's aim is to expose residents, especially youth and younger families, to the wealth of opportunities available to them in Greater Cleveland. Programs for youth include Reaching Individual Success in Education (RISE). The RISE components include Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and Generation Success-Teens Achieving Greatness to meet the educational and afterschool support needed to help children improve their grades and participation in the classroom.
In addition to making space available for partners to bring services on-site to CMHA residents, the Housing Authority reaches out to the Greater Cleveland community for new partners willing to help build bridges leading out of CMHA and into the community-at-large. Partners provide services at the sites such as early childhood education & afterschool services, basic literacy and computer education, youth programs, family support services, employment and training opportunities, health and wellness, and recreational activities.
CMHA residents participate in activities offered by a broad range of Greater Cleveland arts, cultural, recreation and sports organization. These include: the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Indians, CAVS, Rockers and Browns, and the Cleveland Health Museum.
Traditional activities are planned for all CMHA residents, including annual events such as The Senior Jamboree Picnic, CMHA Health Fair and Annual Fun and Fitness Day which involves residents and employees of all ages in celebrating health through games and entertainment.