Alex Cedeño quit renting two years ago. Now, he has just two years left until he owns his own home. And it’s all thanks to his employer, Evergreen Cooperatives.
McMicken sees the home-buyers program as a win-win-win.
Evergreen started this unique home-buyers program three years ago. Today, nearly half of its worker-owners have purchased homes through the program. Home ownership was unlikely for them before; many have bad credit or criminal records. Cedeño simply couldn’t afford the traditional route, which would have meant a down payment—and debt. “I didn’t want to have debts so large,” he explains, “so this opportunity came, and I took advantage of it.”
The cooperative accomplishes this by selling formerly foreclosed or boarded-up homes in Cleveland neighborhoods. This keeps worker-owners close to work and allows them to contribute to Cleveland neighborhoods’ revitalization. Today, nearly half of Evergreen’s worker-owners have purchased homes through the program. Cedeño’s house is in Glenville, a neighborhood where two sectors of the cooperative are located. Through weekly payroll deductions and property tax abatement, these $15,000 to $30,000 homes are theirs within four to six years. Cedeño calls his maravilloso, or wonderful.