Tag Archives: Affordable housing


By: Katie Sobiech July 30th was a beautiful day where more than 200 people gathered for the grand opening of The Commons at Madeline Park. This new Permanent Supportive Housing facility holds apartments for 60 individuals who were once homeless, … Continue reading

Continuum of Care Continues Work to End Homelessness in Summit County (Part Two)

Homeless on the streets


With some pretty big changes coming to the Continuum of Care (COC), new questions and hope begin to arise:
Will Transitional Housing in Summit County become a thing of the past?

Is Permanent Supportive Housing better?

Should those who are homeless have to address mental issues, addictions and any other issues they have in order to stay in government funded housing?

All of these things have been addressed by those who serves our area’s homeless population day in and day out.
Continue reading

Nazareth Housing: Turning Houses into Homes, Building Up Neighborhoods (Part Three) – 2013-03-15

Dare To Be Different

By Katie Sobiech

Homelessness was looking like a reality for Angeline, her husband and their two dogs, until the Nazareth Housing Development Corporation (NHDC) intervened.

“We were living in a rental property and it was foreclosed on. The landlords hadn’t been paying off loan, so it went to auction,” Angeline explained.

“We have two large dogs and weren’t able to pick up and move very easily. We’d been trying to buy the property from the owners but they were trying to sell it to us at really marked up costs,” she continued. “We couldn’t buy it and had to have a loan, so Nazareth came in, purchased the house for us and helped us afford to buy our home that way.”

NHDC not only bought the home, but rehabbed it as well.

“We had issues for a long time that the landlords hadn’t taken care of – trouble with our water which had e-coli in it – it was well water. They rehabbed it and gave us updated appliances and we’re now on our way to becoming homeowners for the first time!” Angeline said with excitement.

Falling through the Cracks

Nazareth Housing

The question is, if NHDC hadn’t stepped in, where would Angeline and her family be today? Would they be living on the streets, or in a homeless shelter?

“I have no idea where we would be right now without Nazareth. We were very unsure of what we were going to do. (My husband and I) both work and go to school full time. If we tried to find an apartment or something that could take us and our dogs in within two weeks it would have been impossible. We definitely wouldn’t be on our way to home ownership if it weren’t for their help,” Angeline said.

“They’ve helped us with credit rehabilitation and to get us into a place that suits our needs very well. If it hadn’t been for them we would’ve probably spent a good deal of our time either homeless or in a place that would not have worked at all for us,” she continued.

Community Involvement

Nazareth Housing

Along with making home ownership a reality for many who never dreamt they would own a home, NHDC works with others in the community to help their clients repair their credit and stay educated in the many areas of home ownership.

“NHDC works with the East Akron Neighborhood Development Center to get your credit where it needs to be,” Angeline said of its many advantages.

NHDC makes it their goal to stay intertwined and connected with other community foundations. After all, it was a group of people from four different Catholic parishes that came together to start this project.

“We’ve had projects that wove us together with Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA). They have multiple programs that help people become more self-sufficient and that’s where we intersect with them. AMHA offers a wide variety of services and really is a leader in terms of providing affordable housing in a consistent and healthy way in Akron,” Nanci Self, Executive Director of NHDC, said.

NHDC and AMHA work together beautifully, in a way that neither could alone.

“We intersect on the other end when people want to get out of public housing, maybe need a boost… to kind of hold their hand while they navigate the waters trying to figure this stuff out,” Self explained.

“If you don’t come from self-sufficiency it’s like learning a new language. You have to take baby steps. Learn a little at a time, practice it, learn a little more, practice it… I always tell my clients that it’s like learning Greek. You didn’t just wake up one day and learn it,” she continued.

“Another one of our partners is the East Akron Neighborhood Development Center and Mustard Seed Development Center. They’re both providers of home/buyer education and are HUD certified. We choose not to be HUD certified. One thing we have our clients do is get their HUD certified classes under their belts, get their action plans created and their household budgets and spending plans together, and figure out where their credit is and work on repairing it. Most people need some repair,” Self said.

Volunteer Program

Nazareth Housing

Angeline and her husband make sure to give back to this cause that changed their lives through their volunteer program.

“Nazareth has such good community involvement and has helped so many people in the area, and us. We definitely want to give back,” Angeline said.

The program is open to anyone who is willing to help lend a hand with their projects.

“We have a great volunteer program. We were recently adopted by the University of Akron for their Martin Luther King Day of Service. A group came to Nazareth to work on their day off. It was just awesome,” Self said.

“One time we had a team from Time Warner. This way we can accomplish more on the houses with less money. Because we’ve had more help we were able to spend less on the houses, make them more fun and interesting and do more special events,” Self continued.

“Another incredible thing that Nazareth has going for us is our staff. We are small but mighty. Our construction manager has decades of experience in all kinds of building trades,” she said.

“It’s hard to be a small local anything. Housing and non-profit doesn’t make it easier, but we’re blessed.”

For more info. visit http://www.nazarethhousing.org

Nazareth Housing: Turning Houses into Homes, Building Up Neighborhoods (Part One) – 2013-03-06

Dare To Be Different

By Katie Sobiech

There is nothing better than having a nice, safe place to call home. Arguably, it is something that everyone deserves.

Nazareth Housing Development Corporation (NHDC), a faith inspired, 501 (c) (3) non-profit community housing developer believes this to be true. They have been around since the 1990’s, but first broke ground in August 2002, rehabbing nearly 40 houses since then.

“I believe that housing is really important to people’s lives. Not everyone should be a homeowner, but everyone should have a nice place to live and it shouldn’t cost too much. Nazareth Housing is able to do a combination of work – take care of the houses and families,” Nanci Self, Executive Director of Nazareth Housing Development Corporation, said.

NHDC’s mission is to help low to moderate income people access affordable housing, but their overall vision is much bigger. They hope to eliminate blighted and inadequate housing by replacing it with safe, well-constructed, new and rehabilitated homes to “plant seeds that will help give rebirth and revitalize affected neighborhoods” (www.nazarethhousing.org).

Their hope is that those neighborhoods will become the seeds that revitalize the city and county, by revitalizing and re-energizing the people who have been helped.

Church Inspired Roots

Nazareth Housing

The entire mission began about 20 years ago with a humble group of people who dedicated their lives to their faith: the Catholic Commission and four Catholic parishes on the west side of Akron.

“There was an initiative called ‘Church in the City’,” Self recalls.

“Churches started falling apart and not being as strong as they could be. A lot (of this was) because people were leaving the inner cities. Bishop Anthony M. Pilla felt that we are our brothers’ keepers and that, even if we don’t choose to live in the inner cities, we should still tend to them. He’s challenged people to find ways to take care of the cores of the cities. A lot of people got together with four priests on the West Side of Akron and that’s how this was born,” she continued.

This established them as the faith-inspired and faith-rooted organization that they are today. The sense of social justice and caring for people’s basic needs remains strong to this day.

Their Mission and Work

Nazareth Housing

NHDC looks to build affordable houses in the vicinities of those very same perishes on the West Side.

“The mission was always to create affordable housing,” Self said.

It was a trio of women (who made some changes) that really got the organization on its feet,” she continued, “They learned that to create affordable housing in this area and have it survive you have to fit a model called ‘Community Housing Development Organizations’,” Self said.

Self says that this model helps them work more strategically and cohesively.

Around this time they also expanded their target area to include all of Summit County.

Making Home Ownership Dreams Come True

Nazareth Housing

“There’s been an extreme amount of foreclosures in Summit County in the last six or seven years. The sooner we can get these houses into the hands of someone who will actually take care of them, the better it is for the neighborhood,” Self said.

“With the counties blessing we bought 12 houses and have been working on them. Some are sold, some are still available,” she continued.

Though housing is their main focus, they realize that not everyone can afford to live in a home, so they are developing a rental program as well.

“We make it our mission to help families and individuals with their houses, more often than not through home ownership. We look for vacant and abandoned houses that are repairable,” Self explained.

“If they’re eligible and jump through all the hoops we set up – and we try to make it hard – because homeownership takes a lot of work. We don’t want to make it too easy. This is a lot of money given to help with your house. We want people to really understand what a blessing and gift it really is,” she explained.

Those interested are required to take homeownership and financial literacy classes.

Improving Houses and Neighborhoods

NHDC also has a program for those who already own a home which needs repair.

“It’s a part of our mission to help stabilize the neighborhood. We want to take care of neighborhoods, as well as families and houses,” Self said.

They do a lot of their work in Springfield, Lakemore, North Hill and Summit Lake.

Much of this includes removing lead and doing rehab work.

“We’re looking for houses heavy with lead. The lead paint is hazardous to children,” Self said.

They also work in collaboration with different community groups to seek the best for neighborhoods.

Watch for Part Two later this week on their work with others in the community, what makes them different from other housing projects and volunteer opportunities.

For more info. visit http://www.nazarethhousing.org