By Margaret Mitchell, YWCA Greater Cleveland President and CEO – Yes, I’m a transplant to Cleveland. I’m also a self-confessed Cleveland cheerleader. No one was happier when we started the week of July 7-11, 2014 learning the 2016 National RNC convention was coming to Cleveland and ended with knowing LBJ (aka LeBron James) was suiting up in a Cavalier uniform again.
I think of Cleveland, Ohio, as the New American City – a town with an amazingly rich history, a vibrant vision and strong commitment to its future. And sure there will be naysayers and pessimists about Cleveland as we rise well above our former shadow— it comes with the territory and no one knows that better than the YWCA.I was baffled when YWCA Greater Cleveland was caught in the anti-Cleveland storyline for the RNC. It all started when I received a copy of 5 Reasons Cleveland Is A Terrible Choice To Hold The GOP’s 2016 Convention, from Think Progress. The headline is catchy and the second paragraph of the article calls out the YWCA as another fat cat agency (my words) in Cleveland benefiting from $1.4 billion in stimulus funding (their words) following the 2008 financial collapse. Yes, if you plug in our zip code YWCA Greater Cleveland will pop up with a 1.5 million award from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But that’s not how the story ends and here’s what you need to know.The Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), managed by the Ohio Housing Finance Authority (OHFA), assisted 40 different projects throughout Ohio resulting in 2,126 units of affordable rental housing throughout the state. The Ohio Housing Finance Authority allocated $1.5 million of the total award amount $83,484,547 to YWCA Independence Place, LLC for the housing development, management and construction of 23 permanent supportive housing units to support homeless youth. Of the 1.5 million, only a fraction, $200,000 came as a grant to the YWCA for operating support.
There’s no surplus here –that’s the real story.
And speaking of real –here’s the real deal; there are hundreds of homeless youth in our community and millions of homeless youth in our nation. Our goal is to end youth homelessness and because we are not doing this alone I believe it will be achieved over the next ten years.
Learn more about our work to end youth homeless at http://www.ywcaofcleveland.org/aplace4me