HIPPY cultivates learning and play with Children’s Reading Garden

HIPPY cultivates learning and play with Children’s Reading Garden

HIPPY, Home Instructions for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, is starting a new program in Central focused on creating a safe, outdoor place for learning and play. The HIPPY Children’s Reading Garden will offer educational and fun activities for preschool and elementary aged children from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays through July 28, 2017. Activities will be held in the exterior courtyard of in front of the Sara J. Harper Library located next to the Outhwaite Community Center on Quincy Avenue. Rainy day location will be the Louis Stokes Museum.

Dannette Davis, CMHA HIPPY coordinator, at the Children's Reading Garden.
Dannette Davis, CMHA HIPPY coordinator, at the Children’s Reading Garden.

During the March Promise Neighborhood March Advisory Council meeting, community members expressed a desire and need for more outdoor safe play spaces in the community. Promise Neighborhood early learning navigator Tatiana Wells took this feedback to Danette Davis, HIPPY coordinator, and the two organizations worked together to develop a place and program that would meet the needs expressed by community residents.

Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority police will patrol the area with a driven or stationed car, walking officer or even having the officers to volunteer to participate in the garden with children’s activities.

Parents are encouraged to attend the Children’s Reading Garden sessions with children, but it is not mandatory.

HIPPY is a parent involvement and school readiness program. The HIPPY program offers free home-based early childhood education for three, four and five-year-old children working with their parent(s) as their first teacher. HIPPY provides the parent with a set of developmentally appropriate materials, curriculum and books designed to strengthen their children’s cognitive skills, early literacy skills, social/emotional and physical development.

The Judge Sara J. Harper Library at Outhwaite Homes.
The Judge Sara J. Harper Library at Outhwaite Homes.

Programming for HIPPY has been available for Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) residents for more than 21 years. CMHA is the first housing authority nationwide that offers HIPPY programming as a part of the educational services for residents.

This program is available to the residents of CMHA’s Carver Park, King Kennedy and Outhwaite Estates. There is also open enrollment year round. Please call (216) 361-2367 extension 119 for questions or to enroll.

Legal Aid Society program provides second chances

Legal Aid Society program provides second chances

A $100,000 grant awarded to Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice is helping CMHA residents seal past criminal or juvenile records.

The Juvenile Reentry Assistance Program (JRAP) provides a “second chance” that is meant to help young people, under 25, who live or have lived in public housing or receive vouchers through what’s commonly referred to as Section 8, to get past hurdles to things like finding work or affordable places to live. Through the grant, the Legal Aid Society will pay for a lawyer to help residents go through the expungement process or other legal matters that can often be expensive and overwhelming.

JRAP assistance is available to those who meet the following requirements:

  • Under 25, live in CMHA public housing and have a criminal (adult or juvenile) record
  • Under 25, used to live in CMHA public housing and can no longer live with family who are still in CMHA public housing because of a criminal (adult or juvenile) record?
  • Live in CMHA public housing with a household member who is under 25 and has a criminal (adult or juvenile) record

LegalAidLegal assistance through the program could also come in the form of assistance in restoring a suspended driver’s license or dealing with court fines or fees. More information on the legal problems JRAP can help with is available on a flyer here.

Cleveland.com recently did a feature on the program and highlighted the story of a young mother who participated in the program and was able to have her record sealed and ultimately land a job:

It was basically the “dumbest thing I ever did.”

That’s how a 22-year-old Cleveland mother remembers the winter day she and a few high school friends got caught stuffing clothes and merchandise into their bags at a mall store in Strongsville.

It later led to her arrest, owing $700 in bail, a theft conviction, probation, rejection after rejection from jobs, limited housing choices and the mounting stress of having to rely on her grandma to help support her son while she sorted the whole mess out.

What the young woman needed was simple enough — for her misdemeanor conviction to be expunged. It seemed, though, like a huge hurdle.

Criminal record expungements are in high demand on Cuyahoga County, with the number jumping from 100 in 2015 to 2,000 last year, according to the county records.

Director of Resident Services Kristie Groves told Cleveland.com in an interview that the program fits in with the CMHA’s aim to promote self-sufficiency for its residents, whether that means getting a better job, housing or overcoming other legal hurdles to success, like civil and criminal legal barriers.

The Legal Aid Society is hosting a community legal clinic at Woodhill Estates Community Center June 20 from 2 to 4 p.m.

CMHA Wins Choice Planning Grant

The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority has been awarded a $300,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The planning grant will focus on the Central neighborhood adjacent to Cleveland’s downtown.

Once completed, the plan will become the guiding document for the revitalization of the public housing units in the Cedar/Central Community, while simultaneously directing the transformation of the surrounding neighborhood and positive outcomes for families. The goal of this Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant is to employ a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation. CMHA’s Choice Neighborhood is a complementary program to Promise Neighborhood, which aims to physically transform a portion of Central, specifically Cedar Estates public housing. But the Choice program is wide-ranging focusing beyond housing to neighborhood redevelopment.

CMHA must also plan social service and education opportunity improvements in the neighborhood, and is working closely with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and its partners which is doing similar planning under the Promise Neighborhood project.

The portion of Central CMHA is focusing on corresponds to the same area and three schools the Promise project is targeting to work with residents and community leaders to ensure children are ready for school and succeed academically in excellent schools.

New CHOICE Planning Grants Available

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced recently that $3.6 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants will be awarded this year to “assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.” The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, which applied for an earlier round of planning grants for the Cedar extension housing, will try again. Applications are due in early August. CMHA and other public housing authorities can receive up to $300,000 for planning. Read more.

Rep. Kucinich Recognizes Foundation’s Work in Congressional Record

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced recently that $3.6 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants will be awarded this year to “assist in the tranformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.” The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, which applied for an earlier round of planning grants, will try again. Applications are due in early August. CMHA and other public housing authorities can receive up to $300,000 for planning.

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor and recognition of the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland for their groundbreaking work to promote and improve Cleveland’s Central Neighborhood.

“Founded in 1996, the Sisters of Charity Foundation focuses on improving the health status and educational outcomes of Cleveland’s residents and children … They have raised over $330,000 in local funding for the Central Neighborhood and are planning to create a Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood.”