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Fifth Third Bank, Enterprise Community Partners establish $20 million program to revitalize Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood

The investment will include $2 million in grants and $18 million in affordable financing from housing to small business loans.

CLEVELAND — On Friday, Fifth Third and Enterprise Community Partners announced the establishment of a $20 million neighborhood program to support and revitalize Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood. 

The investment will include $2 million in grants and $18 million in affordable financing from housing to small business loans.

The program will focus over three years in partnership with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc., CHN Housing Partners and cross-sector collaborations. It calls for:

  • New loans and grants to maximize investment from existing weatherization, home repair and lead-safe programs. 
  • A "first-in" strategy that will attract other developers and additional investment. 
  • Pre- and post-counseling support for new homeowners.  

Also planned is a pilot program to help residents purchase and rehabilitate single-family and two-story homes, helping to manage the appraisal gap in the neighborhood. New owners will be able to live in one unit while providing a quality affordable home to another family. The additional income will help new homeowners thrive, build wealth and prevent displacement of Black residents. They’ll also have access to landlord and small business training over the first 18 months. 

“This opportunity allows Fifth Third to invest in a unique way by taking a thoughtfully structured approach to solve real-world systemic issues,” said Joe DiRocco, regional president, Fifth Third Bank, Northern Ohio. “This program goes beyond infusing capital into neighborhoods. We are working to make a significant impact by targeting investments in specific areas, collaborating with communities and their leading organizations and driving change through tangible place-based methods.”

Fifth Third is collaborating on the initiative with Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. Together, they selected nine majority-Black neighborhoods that have seen a sustained period of disinvestment. The Buckeye neighborhood in Cleveland was one of the locations selected. 

Enterprise will provide technical assistance to support each neighborhood in developing and implementing a plan tailored to the unique challenges it faces. Enterprise will then assist with assessing the plan’s effectiveness at improving the economic well-being of residents and small locally owned businesses. Successful outcomes will include investments in small businesses, homeownership and workforce development that promote economic stability and growth. 

Buckeye is part of Mayor Frank Jackson’s Neighborhood Transformation Initiative, and it recently received a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The program’s funds will support the economic mobility of Black low- to moderate-income residents in the Buckeye neighborhood and cultivate investments and resources from additional stakeholders. The plan includes home repair and rehabilitation and targets the area south of Buckeye Road.

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