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Cleveland Scholar House to be named after mother of Cleveland’s late Mayor Carl Stokes and the first Black Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes

The Louise C. Stokes Cleveland Scholar House intends to help single parents in college with economic challenges by providing affordable housing.

CLEVELAND — EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above previously aired on Feb. 25, 2022, as a Black History Spotlight on 3News. 

CHN Housing Partners and the United Way of Greater Cleveland announced the upcoming Cleveland Scholar House will be named after Louise C. Stokes. She's the mother of late Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and late Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes.

The announcement of the house's name came at the development’s groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, which included partners, funders, elected officials and members of the Stokes family in attendance. 

The Louise C. Stokes Cleveland Scholar House is a 40-unit apartment for single parents enrolled in college that intends to remove economic barriers by providing them with affordable housing. 

The location at 2551 Community College Avenue is within walking distance of Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University. 

“Louise’s impact on her family, this community and our nation was a result of back-breaking work that gave her children the opportunity to become educated and serve,” said Cordell Stokes, the son of Mayor Carl Stokes, Alex Stokes, granddaughter of Congressman Louis Stokes, and Brett Stokes Hammond, grandson of Congressman Louis Stokes in a joint statement. “Louise would be so proud today as this community comes together to support single parents who are working hard to earn a college degree and make a future for themselves and their children.”

Officials say the Cleveland Scholar House was created after Kentucky saw success with the Scholar House Model. 

“We are thrilled that this new facility will bear the name of Mrs. Stokes,” said Kevin J. Nowak, executive director of CHN. “The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House will stand as a testament to her unwavering support of her children and the importance she placed on education. We at CHN believe that stable, affordable housing unlocks the keys to success for both parents and their children.” 

CHN Housing Partners will be the manager and owner of the property. The United Way of Greater Cleveland is credited with gathering support amongst the community for the project. 

“Fifty percent of Cleveland’s children live in poverty, and less than 8% of single mothers who live in poverty complete their post-secondary education, but we refuse to let poverty define our city,” said Augie Napoli, president and CEO of UWGC. “The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House’s two-generation approach is designed to end poverty’s stranglehold on the lives of the parents and children who enter its doors, and we’re delighted it is named after such an inspiring Cleveland figure.” 

The City of Cleveland committed $1.2 million for the construction of the Scholar House.

“The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House is precisely the type of development we need in our city to break the cycle of poverty and plant seeds for a brighter future for Cleveland,” said Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. 

The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House Partners will offer the following for students and their children:  

  • Stable Housing — Located within walking distance of CSU and Tri-C®, the two and three-bedroom 40-unit building will include a daycare, study space, a computer lab, common space for parenting classes and family activities, as well as child play space. 
  • Rental Support —CMHA will provide 40 project-based vouchers and lease the land for the building. 
  • High Quality Childcare — Step Forward will provide daycare at its five-star William Patrick Day Early Learning Center next door. 
  • Academic Support —CSU and Tri-C® will provide life skills, academic counseling, and cohort support for the first-generation college students.
  • Resident Services —CHN, UWGC and others will coordinate wrap-around services, including mental health counseling, financial literacy, and access to benefits and other services.

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA), Step Forward, Cleveland State University (CSU) and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C®) are all partners of the project as well. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Jan. 31, 2021.



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