Andrea Shellenberger has taken full advantage of city living since she bought her house near University Circle in 2018.
“It's so nice being close to work, museums, parks, and even downtown. We are Playhouse Square members, Cavs season ticket holders, and we go to a lot of Guardians games. And now that Opportunity Parkway is done access to the highway is much easier,” says Shellenberger, the director of administrative operations at the Case Western Reserve University Department of Pathology. “We have met so many nice people living in the area and spend lots of nights sitting out on our porch enjoying the sounds of the city.”
What made Shellenberger’s move to University Circle even more attractive and affordable was a forgivable loan program from Greater Circle Living (GCL) that provides eligible home buyers with up to $30,000 in down payment assistance.
GCL—a partnership between Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals, The Cleveland Foundation, Judson Retirement Community and other area non-profits—is an employer-assisted housing program that incentivizes living close to work while simultaneously fostering opportunities for economic inclusion of neighborhood residents, businesses and cultural institutions. The program is administered by Fairfax Renaissance Development Corporation, marketed by University Circle Inc., and funded by The Cleveland Foundation and participating nonprofit employers, including Case Western Reserve.
GCL has two goals: to increase the population and improve the economic opportunities for the people in Greater University Circle and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Down payment assistance in the amount of $20,000 is available to employees of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals who purchase a home in one of GCL’s nine eligible neighborhoods—Buckeye-Shaker, Central-Midtown, Fairfax, Glenville, Hough, Little Italy, St. Clair-Superior, University Circle and the Southwest quadrant of East Cleveland.
Eligible employees whose total annual household income is less than $150,000 may qualify for an additional $10,000 in down payment assistance, depending on the employer. All loan amounts are forgivable over five years provided employment and primary residence criteria are met.
GCL also offers up to $8,000 in matching funds for exterior home repairs, and up to $1,400 for one-time rental assistance.