Board members cut the ribbon on newly renovated townhouses located back-to-back between Baugh and Clemmer Streets on Monday afternoon.
Paul Dellinger, executive director of the Cleveland Housing Authority, said the project that had a price tag of more than $2 million is finished after just over a year of work.
Thanking board members Jerry Bohannon, Angel Collins, Ed Fay, Ken Melton, Verrill Norwood, Joe Washington and Sharon Westfield, he said the new townhouses would continue to allow the housing authority to carry out its mission of helping people — but in a new way.
“It is a jewel in our portfolio,” Dellinger said. “It’s not conventional public housing. It’s a few steps above that.”
Unlike other Cleveland area housing projects, the 26 Baugh and Clemmer townhouses require the people who live in them to make a minimum amount of income.
Those who apply to live in the townhouses must make at least 50 percent of the area’s median annual income level, which amounts to at least $19,800 for a two-person household, $22,240 for a three-person household and $24,700 for a four-person household. Between two and four residents can live in each unit, which Dellinger said was in line with existing housing authority guidelines.
Though exceptions may be made for those who are considered elderly or disabled, Dellinger said the majority of the residents will be working individuals.
He described the new “premier” development as a way of giving a people “a hand up, instead of handout.” Comparing the concept to the way recipients of Habitat for Humanity houses put in work to help provide themselves with housing, residents of the Cleveland Housing Authority townhouses must have a regular income so they can have their utilities registered under their names and pay their own monthly bills.
The amount of rent a family will pay for a townhouse will be determined the same way rent is decided in other Cleveland Housing Authority properties; the difference is having to make a minimum income.
Dellinger said the townhouses, which are available for lease now, will allow individuals working their way up from lower-income situations to have properties that “compete with the market, but do not have market price.”
People have already begun to apply to live in the units, but some remain unclaimed. Some applicants have been turned down because they did not meet the requirements.
Construction on the major renovation project began in January 2013. Michael Brady Inc., an architecture firm, reworked the complex’s design, while Merit Construction oversaw the work.
Each two-story townhouse has two bedrooms and one bathroom. Downstairs, there is a kitchen and room for a living area, along with storage closets under the stairs and by the door. Upstairs are the bedrooms and bathroom, along with an alcove with hookups for a washer and dryer.
Dellinger said the townhouses have the same layouts as they did before the renovation. However, construction crews “got them down to the studs” and installed all-new finishes — everything from flooring to kitchen appliances.
While the inside was changed, he said the outside saw the biggest changes. Covered-porch areas were installed around the front doors, and fenced-in patios were added in the back. The building’s exterior roofline design was also changed. Before, Dellinger said each of the rows of townhouses, which had originally been constructed in the 1980s, looked “square” and “very plain looking.”
Also changed were things like the heating system. Now, all the units have central heat and air, unlike the old units that just had electric baseboard heat.
The project cost somewhere between $2.1 million and $2.2 million, Dellinger said.
For more information about the new properties, visit www.clevelandhousingauthority.com.