One Story at a Time…

Housing First

Ted Howard’s efficiency apartment in Cleveland’s Glenville Neighborhood has been a safe haven for him for nearly three years. Tidy and compact, he calls it a “blessing for this place to be here.

“Because of my addiction I couldn’t get money to get an apartment,” he said.

Ted lives in Liberty at St. Clair, a 72-unit apartment building on St. Clair Avenue. Liberty, a Housing First apartment building, is one of eight with more than 500 units around Cleveland.

Without housing, people struggle to keep or find a job, care for children and move out of poverty. Without housing, people have a hard time getting clean and sober.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services, brought together housing, service providers and foundations to create the Housing First Initiative.

The Initiative was created to address the challenge of chronic homelessness, and to develop a strategy for bringing Housing First to Cuyahoga County.

The shared goal is to develop 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing in Cuyahoga County.

“Housing First” is both an initiative and a philosophy that no matter what obstacles people face, ensuring them a home is paramount. Housing First combines permanent affordable housing with onsite supportive services such as education and job skills training, as well as substance abuse and mental health issues. It is a proven solution to end longterm homelessness for people like Ted.

Ted moved in and out of homelessness for years after becoming addicted to cocaine and losing his job. He stayed at the men’s homeless shelter, and at other times would crash at a friend’s place.

Now Ted takes the bus to vocational training and attends 12-step meetings in the community room of his building. “I’m on the right track.”

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Our Mission

For more than 18 years, the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland has worked to improve the lives of those most in need with special attention to families, women and children living in poverty.

News & Events

In memory of Congressman Stokes, a note from the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood

We were saddened to learn of the passing of former Congressman Louis Stokes on August 18. As the first African-American to represent the state of Ohio in Congress, Congressman Stokes believed deeply that every American should have the same opportunity to succeed.

As President Barack Obama noted on the day of Congressman Stokes’ passing: “Growing up in Depression-era Cleveland with his mother and brother Carl, Lou triumphed over hardship to become a passionate voice for those less fortunate. He fought to expand access to quality health care in struggling communities and worked tirelessly on behalf of hardworking Ohioans. Lou leaves behind an indelible legacy in the countless generations of young leaders that he inspired, and he will be sorely missed.”

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood were exceptionally fortunate to connect with Congressman Stokes throughout the past few years as part of our efforts to create high quality educational opportunity from cradle to career for every child in the Central Neighborhood of Cleveland.

We extend our sincere condolences to Congressman Stokes’ wife, family and friends who loved him so dearly.


Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness: A Community Convening

Communities across the nation are developing solutions to youth homelessness that prioritize prevention, the unique developmental needs and opportunities of young people, and alignment of systems and resources for a more coordinated response.

Cuyahoga County’s A Place 4 Me is a partnership of the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, FrontLine Service and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative. A Place 4 Me has engaged nearly 60 individuals from more than 30 partner organizations to creatively develop local solutions to prevent and end homelessness among unaccompanied youth ages 15 to 24.

As a part of this effort, A Place 4 Me has worked to develop specific strategies to support the housing stability of youth who have aged out of foster care.

The partners of A Place 4 Me are sharing these recommendations for feedback and insights at a stakeholder convening on July 9, which will include:

  • Stories from the young people whose experiences and ideas have richly shaped the development of these strategies throughout the planning effort.
  • Results from the recent Youth Count! effort to get better data on the number and characteristics of homeless and unstably housed youth in Cuyahoga County.
  • Conversation with representatives from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kresge Foundation and Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative joining us on site to be an important part of this local conversation.

At the end of the convening, the partners of A Place 4 Me hope to have facilitated a mutual commitment to implementing these strategies as a part of the community plan to prevent and end youth homelessness.

To learn more about this important effort, tune in to the Sound of Ideas on July 9 or contact Rebecca Gallant at


Cleveland’s Promise Neighborhood Initiative Welcomes New Leader

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland has hired Lowell Perry Jr. as the new director of the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood. Modeled after the renowned Harlem’s Children’s Zone, the Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood works to transform the educational and developmental outcomes of Central Neighborhood’s children, closing gaps in achievement and creating cradle-to-career supports for all youth. Read more.


Foundation Board Chair Elected as 2016-2017 Public Library Association President

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland board chair and director of the Cleveland Public Library, Felton Thomas Jr., has been elected as the 2016-2017 president of the Public Library Association (PLA). A division of the American Library Association, PLA’s core purpose is to strengthen public libraries and their contribution to the communities they serve. Its mission is to enhance the development and effectiveness of public library staff and public library services. The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland shares our sincere congratulations with Director Thomas. He becomes PLA president-elect this June and will assume the PLA presidency in June 2016 for one year. He continues his many other leadership roles alongside this honor, including his service as board chair of the foundation. Read more about the PLA presidency in this announcement from the Cleveland Public Library, as well as in the news.

First Quarter Grants Awarded

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland awarded seven grants totaling $300,000 in its first quarter grantmaking to non-profits working to end youth, adult and family homelessness, to support women religious activities to celebrate The Year of Consecrated Life as announced by Pope Francis, as well as other local community efforts. Read more.

Task Force Announces Statewide Plans to Prioritize Healthy Food Access in Ohio

Ohio is home to many communities with too few places to purchase healthy, affordable food. This food access crisis has put over 2 million residents, including more than 500,000 children, at risk for chronic disease and diet-related death.  A new policy statement from the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force states that local and state policymakers can take steps to remove barriers that are keeping healthy food retailers from operating in places where they are needed most. One of the key recommendations is establishing a statewide Healthy Food Financing Fund to overcome the most significant barrier to healthy food retail development in low-income areas: access to flexible financing. Read more about the task force and its recommendations.


One of the key recommendations is establishing a statewide Healthy Food Financing Fund to overcome the most significant barrier to healthy food retail development in low-income areas: access to flexible financing. An Ohio Healthy Food Financing Fund (HFFF) would provide one-time financing to help overcome the barriers associated with developing healthy food retail in underserved communities, such as the need for capital, real estate, and a wide range of related expenses. The program would enable vendors to open, renovate, or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables.


About the Healthy Food Financing Task Force

Made up of a cross-section of nearly 50 leaders from the health, business, civic, government, grocery, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors including the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, the Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force worked for a year alongside The Food Trust to identify policy recommendations to support healthy food retail development and expansion in areas in greatest need. The 2014 report, “Food for Every Child: The Need for Healthy Food Financing in Ohio” identified urban and rural areas across Ohio where healthy food retail development is needed most. Study findings are published at


Called by Faith

There’s a new name and look for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland’s newsletter which shares the good work and stories of Catholic women religious and their lay partners in northeast Ohio. Read Called by Faith here.