Ruk and Leela Rai, Bhutanese refugees, now have the opportunity to raise their three-year-old son Anish in an environment so many take for granted thanks to a local program that assists refugees in finding decent, affordable housing by utilizing the growing number of foreclosed and abandoned homes in the city, reports Loren Belin of the
“The Cleveland program is part of an emerging national effort that is seeking to find a silver lining in the foreclosure wave that has pockmarked communities with abandoned properties. Across the country, nonprofit organizations are purchasing, repairing and redeploying vacant homes in a bid to provide needy families with housing, while revitalizing struggling communities.”
In Cleveland, the International Services Center has helped to resettle nearly 13,000 refugees over the last 50 years. They came across the idea of making use of foreclosed homes last summer when it struggled to find acceptable homes for newly arrived families due to landlord reluctance.
“The challenge is to find a landlord and then explain that their future tenant is arriving in the United States and has no employment, no immediate future employment, and no credit history, but to please give them a place to live,” said Karin Wishner, ISC’s executive director. “That leaves few landlords to work with, and then the question is if they have openings when we need them."
Read more about the Rai family and the Cleveland program in the lengthy Huffington Post feature here