HousingCleveland.org Unveiled at Cleveland west Library

By Kevin E. Cleary

             On Tuesday, November 15, Housing Cleveland.org had its official ribbon cutting ceremony at the historic Carnegie West library.  Though no actual ribbons were cut or harmed, representatives from 211/First Call for Help, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, Bridging the gap, staff of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s office, and many others gathered to see a demonstration of Cleveland’s new affordable housing website.

             The website, as described in a previous story (the Homeless Grapevine, Issue 71) is designed to connect landlords with affordable properties to potential tenants.  Landlords can list their properties for free on the site, and the listings are kept current by Social Serv.net and many of the programs and agencies listed above.

             Van Gottl, co-founder of nonprofit software developer SocialServ.net, spoke and demonstrated the website’s and demonstrated the website’s unique design and collaboration. He mentioned the contributions of SCK, a graphic design firm in Tremont who donated time and effort to help construct the locl website.  He also talked about SocialServ.net cost-saving techniques and goal to revolutionize their industry. 

             “We are on a mission to change the way software vendors deal with state, local, and federal government.”” Said Gottl.

             Gottl also discussed a new feature, the Rental Checklist, which was developed by Leigh Ann Ahmad and Greg Reaves of Bridging the Gap.  Gottl said the rental Checklist will be emulated in future designs of similar websites.

             “this rental Checklist was developed locally, and we got permission to seal it.  It will say ‘Developed in Cleveland through HousingCleveland.org,’” said Gottl.

             Martin Gelfand of Representative Kucinich’s office presented a Congressional resolution congratulating the agencies, county and city offices, and people involved.  The resolution was read into the Congressional record on November 15.

             Nathan Word, a Bridging the Gap client who found an apartment through HousingCleeland.org, spoke about how he had been at a VOA (Volunteers of America) shelter for 13 months but was now able to become housed.  His new landlord, Anthon Laccheo, also talked about how Bridging the Gap had helped connect him to tenants through the website.

             Another landlord, Kenneth Williams, spoke very highly of the design of the site, and its services:  “I’ve used the site, the site is very good, the customer service is very good; they (Social Service.net) call religiously.”

             As of this report, the website was receiving an average of over 1,000 visitors per day.

 Copyright NEOCH Homeless Grapevine December 2005 Issue 74