AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James continues to expand on "his promise" to at-risk youth in Akron.
Located at 445 S. Maple St, the new affordable housing complex is just a half-mile away from the school that James helped open in 2018. The idea of these apartments is to give students and families of the I PROMISE School as much support as possible with nice, stable housing.
The $16 million development is the vision of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation (EANDC) and the LeBron James Family Foundation. LeBron's mother, Gloria James, was at the ribbon cutting celebration as joyous as the many community leaders in attendance.
The beautiful, modern building has two, three, and four-bedroom units with 50 units total. EANDC CEO and President Cheryl Stephens tells 3News that the I PROMISE development is more than just “affordable housing,” but a true “community.”
Tenants get access to community and fitness rooms, bicycle storage, mobility and sensory units, and fiber optic Wi-Fi for all apartments.
“We are offering people a piece of the American dream,” Stephens explained. A quality housing unit to live in to raise their children so that they can go to school and absorb a good education which will allow them to design and live their own American dream."
She then explained further the thought process behind the I PROMISE Housing design.
"Having a quality place to live helps you study better,” she said. “When you study better, you learn better. When you learn better, you prepare yourself for life as an adult in a better way. And isn't that one of the first pieces of the American dream? You get a decent place to live, you have a decent education and your future is something you build towards having because you have the right skills to do it."
I PROMISE Housing is actively taking applications with about six families already moved in.
Tracy McCarroll told us this is the first truly safe home she's been able to give her 11-year-old son Raymond.
“Home is where the heart is,” she said of the first time she entered their unit. “It's what we wanted and it's what we needed. I just felt comfortable. I felt like this is a secure door. That's a secure window. There's security. This is a different feeling."
Her son Raymond will be a 6th grader at the I PROMISE School in the fall. McCarroll said it’s a priceless feeling for him to finally have his own bedroom.
The LeBron James Family Foundation and EANDC will also collaborate to provide wraparound support to tenants, including job and family services, medical and mental healthcare, educational and career advancement training, and financial literacy. The hope is that one day these tenants will become homeowners.
Pre-applications are now available by clicking here.
In addition to being intimately collaborative with the I PROMISE School, I PROMISE Housing also collaborates with The LeBron James Family Foundation’s transitional housing I PROMISE Village, and the multi-use community center House Three Thirty.