Solar-Powered Housing Offers Pilot Solution to Homelessness
The leading cause of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing.
Cleveland, OH – Housing is a human right, but what happens when the safe, affordable housing stock is limited for individuals experiencing instability in Cleveland?
Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM), operator of the largest homeless shelter in Ohio, is working on solutions to move people out of homelessness and into housing with affordability and sustainability at the core. Solar powered units just may be the future of affordable housing stock for community members experiencing homelessness.
LMM, a 54-year-old advocacy, social justice and human service nonprofit, is known for finding innovative solutions to problems facing greater Cleveland’s most vulnerable populations. With the solar-powered pilot house now in the development stage, it won’t be long before people who stay at the shelter will go from homeless to innovatively housed.
“The house will be situated on a parcel from a previously demolished house near LMM’s offices on Cleveland’s east side,” says Michael Sering, Vice President of Housing & Shelter at LMM. “The first structure will be a 1,600 square-foot building, complete with kitchenettes and bathrooms, and designed to be cost effective, comfortable, permanent housing the tenants can each call home.”
It takes many hands to build a house, specifically a solar powered one, and LMM isn’t going it alone. From the tangible build to the funding that supports it, the team behind the pilot is working to ensure its success.
For design and construction, LMM is partnering with PadSmart, a local energy-efficient housing enterprise established by dynamic father-son team Dan and Packy Hyland, founders of Hyland Software, Inc. The structure will be a panelized, steel-framed multi-unit building comprising four single-occupant homes.
The units are energy positive, producing at least as much energy as they consume, which delivers sustained cost-savings to occupants while minimizing environmental impact. The goal of these features is to get as close as possible to a zero on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index, resulting in both minimal negative impact on the environment and minimal utilities costs – which translates into short and long-term savings for occupants.
Funding partners include Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the Cuyahoga County Department of Housing & Community Development, Cleveland Lumber, and The Thatcher Family Fund, who are enthusiastically supporting the pilot project. The partners are putting resources into an effort that will change lives of individuals experiencing homelessness, and potentially providing a solution that will increase the number of people who can move out of shelters and achieve self-sufficiency in Cleveland.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and the solar project was right on target with the vision of ensuring their Medicaid members have a safe and affordable place to live where they can truly reach their best levels of health.
“Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield acknowledges LMM as a leader in Cleveland’s homeless response system, and their innovative new shared housing model is a way to increase access to affordable housing for the people they serve,” said Greg LaManna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid Plan President in Ohio. “An investment in affordable housing is an investment in our members’ health and wellness. Social factors, such as access to stable housing, are critical components of integrated healthcare and healthy communities, and that’s why we continue to invest in innovative programs and develop strategic partnerships that support access to critical services for healthy living.”
Not only will this innovative housing model produce energy positive units, but they are one of the most affordable types of housing to build.
More About LMM:
Over the last five decades, LMM has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to addressing chronic needs, enabling people in our community facing adversity to become self-sufficient, and advocating for systems change. Our programming focuses on innovative and effective services in the areas of Adult Guardianship, Housing & Shelter, Workforce Development, and Youth Resiliency.
More About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield:
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc., an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter @AnthemBCBS_News and @AnthemBCBS.