#ProjectFreshStart is Changing Lives

#ProjectFreshStart is Changing Lives

 The Smith family (center) along with key Project Fresh Start partners.

The Smith family has lived at Laura’s Home, a crisis center for women on Cleveland’s west side, for more than a year. Now, the family is getting ready to settle into their own home thanks to a group of caring individuals looking to create sustainable change in communities.

The Building and Leveraging Opportunities (BLO) Foundation (known by its fraternal name Beta Lambda Omega), a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming lives and revitalizing communities through impactful initiatives, is making a huge impact in the lives of the Smith family through its #ProjectFreshStart initiative.

BLO kicked off the transformative project to provide a previously homeless family with a new home in July of 2023. The endeavor received tremendous support, garnering generous cash contributions anchored by a $50,000 donation from Cuyahoga Land Bank Charities, in-kind services and donations. The renovation of the home in Cleveland’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood was made possible with assistance from more than 20 partners, including Cuyahoga Councilwoman Meredith Turner, The Beta Lambda Omega Cleveland Ohio Alumni Chapter Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., and AKA Construction. The Cuyahoga Land Bank also provided a formerly abandoned home for the project, together with the Cuyahoga Land Bank Charities’ $50,000 in grant funding to renovate the house.

Previously homeless, the Smith Family (Mom and her three sons aged 16, 15 and 6) participated in the City Mission’s New Horizon’s Program at Laura’s Home, completing a required 12-month program in which participants receive food, shelter, counseling and training in confidence-building life skills. The family, carefully chosen to receive the Project Fresh Start home, was introduced to the community on October 7th at the 60th Anniversary Gala hosted by the Beta Lambda Omega Cleveland Ohio Alumni Chapter of Iota Ohio Theta Fraternity Incorporated.

Through #ProjectFreshStart, the BLO Foundation and its partners aim to make a lasting impact by supporting the Smith family’s transition towards a brighter, more secure future.

“The Cuyahoga Land Bank was a pivotal partner in this project,” says Orlando Grant, BLO’s Board Chairman. “When we first had the idea for this project, the Land Bank not only supported us in finding a foundationally sound home and much-needed funding but also offered valuable expertise throughout the renovation, a real tangible benefit that helped ensure the long-term success of this project.”

The kickoff event for #ProjectFreshStart was held in collaboration with the Downing Brothers, renowned HGTV stars of “Backyard Wars” in July.


The Smith Family finds out they have been selected as the Project Fresh Start home recipients.


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