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Cuyahoga County purchasing Lakeside Avenue building for homeless

Cuyahoga County officials hoping to purchase Lakeside Avenue property to house additional homeless individuals in Cleveland

Officials say that the building will provide additional arrangements for 70 individuals experiencing homelessness.

CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a related story, published on July 15, 2021.

On Thursday, Cuyahoga County officials announced that they plan to contract a Lakeside Avenue building to provide additional space to house several individuals experiencing homelessness in Cleveland. 

According to a release, pending approval from the Cleveland City Council, the County will purchase 2020 Lakeside Avenue, giving organizers more than 14,000 additional square footage of space that will be able to shelter 70 additional people. 

RELATED: Some homeless men refusing to leave Independence hotel as deadline arrives

The building is located right next to the emergency men’s homeless shelter, which currently houses upwards of 350 men. Officials tell 3News that Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry will manage the facility and its services. 

“We reaffirm our dedication to providing support for people experiencing homelessness,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “We have confidence in our partners at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry to continue managing services at this stage in the pandemic. We have committed to expanding and improving our services, as evidenced by our pending $550,000 purchase of 2020 Lakeside Ave., the building immediately next to the current men’s shelter.”

As we have for more than 20 years, we will continue to work with our partners to develop creative ways to assist people in finding temporary shelter and ultimately permanent housing.

HVAC installment and major renovations will be completed upon approval from the Cleveland City Council. 

The announcement comes within hours of a press conference held by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH), in which officials discussed the insistence of Cuyahoga County officials that homeless men being housed at the Ramada in Independence vacate the property on July 15, citing an Ohio law stating that a person cannot stay in a hotel room for more than 30 days. 

The Ramada’s manager, Elizabeth White, says that the hotel was aware of the law Budish mentioned, but that they had discovered a loophole that the County and City of Independence had refused to acknowledge. 

RELATED: Homeless individuals to be moved out of Independence Ramada

“Every 28 days we moved every man that was staying there,” White said. “We took everyone out of the rooms, we cleaned all the rooms, and gave them a different new room. We tried every option available.”

In a press release sent Thursday morning, a representative for NEOCH said that moving the men out of the Ramada while the delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in Ohio would be considered cruel. 

“They have the right, as humans, to have a safe and comfortable place to stay,” said a press release from NEOCH. “It is dangerous and inhumane to throw everyone into 2100 Lakeside Ave. We believe this will definitely increase COVID-19 amongst the homeless population as most of them have yet to be fully vaccinated.”

You can watch the full Thursday morning press conference from the Ramada in the player below: 

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