Neighborhood Housing Project
• Mission Statement: To provide ongoing programs and services to help
residents achieve, preserve, and sustain the American dream of
• NHS helps strengthen neighborhoods and communities that have been hit
by hard times.
• NHS has served over 1,100 families with foreclosure prevention, keeping
53% in their homes.
Slavic Village Neighborhood
● An attempt to revitalize the neighborhood was undertaken with the
organization of Neighborhood Ventures, Inc in 1977. With Teddy and Donna
Sliwinski (Neighborhood Ventures), along with architect Kaszimier Wieclaw,
the area began to come alive once again. In order to attract people of various
Slavic European descent, the name of the region was changed to "Slavic
Excerpt from Slavic Village Neighbors (Cleveland Magazine) in 2007:
● Mary says: “it's a nice place to live.” But, Anthony [her son] wishes she'd
consider moving. "It's a good neighborhood," she insists.
● She'd rather die than be forced out by those [young hoodlums] who steal her
nights: "I'm not going anywhere. I'm not afraid of them. I'm not afraid of these
people. It's a quiet neighborhood. They're trying to make a mess of it."
• Banks began allowing homeowners to refinance, and take out sub-prime
mortgages. This allowed potential clients -with bad credit- alternatives for
loans. However, this option negatively affected those who took this route.
• Blue Collar residents of Slavic Village reported feeling the negative
• Slavic Village was the epicenter of the mortgage crisis .
Voices of Slavic Village:
• “Slavic Village was one of the hardest hit communities during the most recent
• “The people of Slavic Village are resilient…”
• “The community is very diverse…”
• “My house is worth less than a six
pack of beer but I refuse to leave this
• “You can buy an empty lot for $100.00.”
• “30% of Ohio houses underwater are loocated
located in Cleveland…”
• Range of Age: 39, 56, 58, 68
• Sex: 3 Female, 1 Male
• Race: 3 Caucasian, 1 African American
• Years of Homeownership: 10, 25, 35
• One interview was conducted in person at John Carroll in the
University’s library; the interview lasted approximately an hour.
• The other two interviews were conducted over the phone. Each
lasted approximately a half hour.
What was attractive about
homeownership for you?
• “It was cheaper than renting and it was time. Well, I thought it was the
right time for me and my family. I was in a position to buy a home and
I did. I had saved for one for a long time.”
• “I guess, the dream of every young kid in the 1960’s and 1970’s: You
wanted a place to call your own.”
• “Well, I’m a third generation contractor, so it’s in the family to want to
continue the legacy of home building and home owning.”
What are some of the factors that led you to
having challenges with your mortgage and/or
• “He [my husband] got sick, it kind of snowballed...he ended up having to get
two heart stents, we didn't even get to pass go.”
• “We had a lot of medical bills on top of $1700 a month for the mortgage.” I’d
offer more food to our children, and I would just have some water and not eat
• “I’d break my meds in half -and being a mother- I wouldn’t say anything. I was
pretty healthy compared to my husband, so I gave him mine...times were
• “We have a son who had an issue. We had a ton of medical costs, starting
with, and, other economic, uhm, the economic downfall that we had a few
What was that experience like for you?
• “It was a very good experience, they let me know what I needed and got back
to me in a timely manner, and it was a very positive experience. Foreclosure
is not an easy thing to go through but NHS does a great job of turning a
stressful situation into a positive one.”
• “The nicest, fairest, smartest people I’ve ever dealt with.”
• “With NHS, I got to speak with the same person consistently. We kept one
girl there until 9 o'clock one night. She even called Wells Fargo, TIAA for us.
They understood our situation.”
• “She [Mariah] said that we [NHS and herself] would ‘keep at it’.”
What are some programs and services that NHS of Greater
Cleveland could offer AFTER people buy houses to help them
• “They [NHS] could help people who are laid off, maybe help them find
employment if they already do not have a program similar to that.”
• “I think if people knew right away that, you know, they got in trouble maybe
assign papers saying ‘If you're into a challenge, call Neighborhood Housing,
you know? If there ever comes a time, you know, you have questions, they
answered a lot of, I don't want to say legal questions, they answered, you
know, questions I wish I had known last year.”
• “A legal department that could negotiate with banks. If you are in a
compromised position, it is hard to get legal aid.”
Have you been able to connect with other
community resources? Which ones?
• “I used legal aid in conjunction with NHS.”
• “No. I called, I talked to Brook Park, I talked to Cuyahoga County. I talked to a
place over on Lorain’s, Spanish-American, kind of like NHS, but it’s on the
West Side. I spoke to them, I sent them the papers but no one contacted me.”
• “NHS kept me informed to the point where I was informed but I wasn’t
• “No, we looked around, and what we needed was to try to get our 2nd and
What did you like best about the program?
• “They [NHS] were kind and friendly; they helped me in a time when I was already
down. They kept the experience positive and they were able to answer all of my
• “I guess probably they [NHS] had a vision where they had a foresight maybe thats
what it is. they had a foresight when we walked into that place of where they
thought where we should be. NHS knew the dates for the files to be due by such
and such date. They did a lot of the smart work i didn’t have to do. I didn’t have to
look on the computer to see when things were due or what I was eligible for. They
weren’t just a voice on the other end of the line.”
• “The people at NHS were sincere and caring.”
• “The diligence of the people was phenomenal.”
What did you like least about the program?
• “I honestly did not have anything that I didn’t like. I was very pleased with
my entire experience.”
• “It was difficult with so many people. We had to stand in line for hours to
try to secure funds. It was a long process.”
• “I dunno, maybe they could’ve been quicker with replies once we turned
in our paperwork. Paperwork. There was a lot of paperwork. I’ve been
over half of Cleveland to get the necessary papers. [Those girls did an
amazing job, though].”
• “When you think of family, you think of home.”
• “Where you celebrate life, where you try to get by some hard times. Home is
your safe place, where you celebrate the good times.”
• “Organized chaos. I guess, I would say…you know, think of a duck. They’re
always seemingly calm and collected above the water. But below, they are
always kicking their little feet to keep up and stay afloat. I would say that
keeping my house was like trying to stay afloat of all of the payments and
piles of debt we were in. My home was the place I felt calm and collected but
the waves were definitely against me for a long time.”
Similarities among interviews
• 3 of 4 interviewees said that their foreclosure was due to medical bills.
• 3 of 4 interviewees said that NHS should not charge for their services.
• 4 of 4 Interviewees agree that NHS has significantly improved the overall
well-being of their lives.
• 4 of 4 interviewees said that NHS is prompt and open to helping their
clients on a closer, intimate level.
• 4 of 4 interviewees said that they had received the resolution they wanted
Differences among interviews
• 1 of 4 interviewees stated that it would be beneficial if foreclosure resources
were offered when people purchase their house in hopes that it would
prevent money troubles.
• 1 of 4 interviewees mentioned that clients, if possible, should offer monetary
support as a thanks after NHS provides their services.
• 1 of 4 interviewees ended up in foreclosure as a result of job loss.
• 2 of 4 Interviewees stated that NHS was their only help in restoring order and
stability to their situation.
• All of the interviewees were extremely grateful for NHS and their service.
• All of the interviewees had positive experiences due to resolved struggles
• All of the interviewees had dependents currently living in their homes.
• All of the interviewees felt that it would ease the burden of NHS if the state or
federal government increased funding for organizations similar to NHS.
• All of the interviewees were long time homeowners (The shortest range was
Suggestions for NHS
• All of the interviewees stated that NHS should do more to promote their
agency; two of the interviewees had never heard of NHS before they were
referred through their lending agencies.
• Realtors in Slavic Village and the surrounding areas should have NHS
pamphlets to hand out to new homebuyers in case they run into trouble.
• NHS should offer more legal aid; the interviewees expressed that good legal
help is expensive and hard to come by.
• Opening up new branches would better accommodate the Greater Cleveland
Conclusions on NHS:
• Thus far, NHS has been successful in guiding, recovering, and educating our
several interviewees in regards to foreclosure.
• NHS has been able to help our four interviewees keep their homes and
manage their mortgage problems.
• Clients of NHS have been satisfied with their experiences and have rated the
overall experience as a positive one.
• Future endeavors could include raising awareness of the services offered,
help with potential employment, and education/financial literacy.