project leader
Stephanie T
4843 Wendell Avenue
(Slavic Village)
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the project

Shelter the People Cleveland embodies a compelling vision: housing as a fundamental human right. Stephanie K. Thomas, an architect with lived homeless experience, a passion for community development and a background in street outreach, established this organization with a bold mission. We are dedicated to assisting and advocating for individuals and families in need of permanent or transitional housing that is not only safe but also sustainable and dignified. This mission is underpinned by a commitment to community building, recognizing that true revitalization comes from uplifting all residents, especially the most vulnerable.

We are constructing three affordable single-family homes on the properties adjacent to the church which we own. The families who will occupy these new homes will be determined by Cuyahoga County and will come from the waitlist of homeless families in need of permanent homes. The homes come with the innovative opportunity for families to gain ownership within three years. Alongside housing, we will also provide supportive services and access to community resources, ensuring a holistic approach to empowerment and stability.

There is a housing crisis in our city. The need for affordable, sustainable, dignified homes is significant. Our proposal to build three two-bedroom single-family homes will provide permanent dwellings for families who are the most in need. With other neighborhoods in severe need of new housing, we see this as a model for all of Cuyahoga County and expect to be building dozens of these homes within the next three years. 

The homes will be built by men and women with lived homeless experience and we will train apprentices during the construction process as part of a workforce development program. We will also hold educational seminars on natural building and sustainable construction practices in our community gathering space. Built out of refurbished shipping containers that are legion throughout the City of Cleveland, the homes will be part of the Cleveland Solar Cooperative, with no natural gas supply, they will be as off the grid and sustainable as possible.

We have already received commitments and partnerships from the following:

  • $100,000 Cleveland Solar Cooperative (75 solar panels, installation and related equipment)
  • $20,000 Cuyahoga County ARPA Funds 
  • Partnership with Food Strong (adjoining community garden)
  • Partnership with R Place Drop-In Resource Center 
  • Support from Neighborhood Pets Outreach & Resource Center





the steps

1. Submit Building & Site Plans to obtain permits from the City of Cleveland (IN PROCESS, permits expected soon)

2. Acquire Lots (June 1st 2024)

3. Hire Contractors (COMPLETE)

5. Commence Construction (August 1st 2024)

6. House Families (December 1st 2024)

7. Begin Supportive Program (December 1st 2024)

8. Transfer Home Ownership (January 1st 2028)

why we're doing it

Over the 2+ years our founder performed street outreach with homeless individuals in Northeast Ohio, Stephanie was able to speak with over 1,000 individuals and families and each one of them articulated the same intrinsic need; the need for a safe, dignified home to call their own.

There are dozens of homeless families awaiting permanent housing throughout Cuyahoga County. Sometimes families are able to find space in the overcrowded family shelters, but oftentimes they are in abandoned buildings or living in their cars. 

Slavic Village* was the original workforce neighborhood in Cleveland but during the Great Recession it recorded more home foreclosures than any other area in the country, locally referred to as the “Housing Meltdown.” Every single vacant residential lot adjacent to our property was lost in the aftermath, they were foreclosed on and then subsequently raised by the City of Cleveland.

Shelter the People Cleveland is not just another housing development organization; it is a catalyst for change. It represents a paradigm shift and a new wave of community-led, inclusive, and sustainable development, dedicated to ensuring that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has access to a place they can call home. As Shelter The People Cleveland continues to grow, its foundational belief remains steadfast: housing is a human right, and through collaborative, community-driven efforts, this right can be realized for all!

*In the North Broadway-Slavic Village Neighborhood, 66.7% of the population or 13,372 persons live in or near the poverty line, in unaffordable housing with 61.0% of renter-occupied households living in unaffordable housing. (Appendix A: “Broadway-Slavic Village Neighborhood Factsheet” by The Center for Community Solutions)




Proposed four (4) single-family homes @ $50,000/each:

Concrete & Civil Work (including sewer & water) - $10,000

Steel, Welding & Site Prep - $5,000

Plumbing - $3,000 

HVAC - $3,000

Kitchen & Bathroom - $4,000

Equipment, Fixtures & Finishes - $10,000

Architectural, Project Management & Other Professional/Administrative Costs - $15,000


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee N/A    $0.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee 4%    $2,083.33
TOTAL TO RAISE    $52,083.33
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.    


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