May 20, 2008

Coalition launches Greater Circle Living

Partners invest in revitalization of Greater University Circle neighborhoods

Forgivable loans up to $15,000 available to employees of Greater University Circle institutions

New housing in University Circle area

A coalition of philanthropic, public and private partners today launched a $4 million housing incentive program to stimulate investment in and revitalization of Greater University Circle neighborhoods. The forgivable loan program targets an estimated 43,000 people who work in Greater University Circle and may consider buying homes there.

Greater Circle Living offers a $5,000 forgivable loan for down payment and/or closing costs for the purchase of an owner-occupied home by full-time employees of any nonprofit institution in Greater University Circle, a district encompassing portions of seven Cleveland neighborhoods.

Employees of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Museum of Art, Judson at University Circle and University Hospitals may be eligible for an additional $10,000 forgivable loan for down payment or closing costs for the purchase of an owner-occupied home, or one month's rental reimbursement in Greater University Circle. Employees at these institutions currently living in the district may be eligible for up to $4,000 in matching funds for exterior renovations.

The program is funded by Case, Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland Museum of Art, Judson at University Circle, the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust, the Surdna Foundation and University Hospitals. Inspired by a program in West Philadelphia by the University of Pennsylvania, Greater Circle Living aims to transform Greater University Circle into destination not only for visitors who already flock to its cultural institutions, but for employees seeking to live near these amenities and the places where they work.

Greater Circle Living Logo

"The scope of Greater Circle Living is impressive, and it raises the bar on employer-assisted housing efforts across the country," said Lucy Kerman, Ph.D., vice president for policy and planning at the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. "This is the first time I have seen a partnership of this scale with so many institutions, nonprofit partners and funders coming together to invest in a single area. It's creative and bold and is sure to have a major impact on the employers and neighborhoods in Greater University Circle."

Kerman previously directed the University of Pennsylvania's West Philadelphia Initiatives, a highly regarded and successful neighborhood revitalization plan.

Greater University Circle encompasses portions of seven neighborhoods:

  • Buckeye-Shaker, including the shops and eateries of Shaker Square
  • Fairfax, center of an urban renaissance and home to the renowned Karamu Performing Arts Theatre
  • Hough, nestled at Cleveland Clinic's front door and ripe for rebirth
  • Glenville, harboring the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and some of Cleveland's grandest homes
  • East Cleveland (southwest quadrant), an emerging commercial and residential district
  • Little Italy, a welcoming mix of old world restaurants and bakeries and fresh art
  • University Circle, the home of several museums, The Cleveland Orchestra, cultural institutions, and the treed grounds of Case Western Reserve University
How does Greater Circle Living work?

Loans are forgiven if the employee continues to work for a participating Greater University Circle institution and continues to occupy the residence for five years after the loan closes.

Loans for employees of Case, Cleveland Clinic, the Museum of Art, Judson and University Hospitals are provided by their employers. Loans for employees of other area nonprofits come from a coalition of philanthropic funding partners: the Cleveland Foundation, the Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust and the Surdna Foundation.

Financial assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Families participating in Greater Circle Living remain eligible for housing assistance programs offered by the City of Cleveland and some other agencies.

For complete program rules and eligibility requirements, visit or, or call Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. at 216-361-8400. Information is also available at the Living in the Circle Center, 11330 Euclid Ave., Cleveland (open in June 2008).

View the Greater Circle Living Fact Sheet.

Media can direct inquiries to:
  • Case Western Reserve University: Laura Massie, 216-368-4442
  • Cleveland Clinic: Erinne Dyer, 216-444-8168
  • Cleveland Foundation: Scott Tennant, 216-615-7153
  • Cleveland Museum of Art: James Kopniske, 216-707-2261
  • Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp.: Vickie Eaton Johnson, 216-361-8400
  • Judson at University Circle: Rob Lucarelli, 216-791-2321
  • University Hospitals: George Stamatis, 216-844-3825
  • University Circle Inc.: David Fitz, 216-707-5029

Posted by: Heidi Cool, May 20, 2008 12:31 PM | News Topics: Campus Life, Collaborations/Partnerships, Community Outreach, HeadlinesMain, news

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