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Source: Pixabay

Sustainable Architect Ignites Innovation In Cleveland's Underserved Areas

By Brian Spaen

Underserved neighborhoods are something we too often ignore. For one architect from California, his mission is to take these struggling communities head-on and to try to boost them into their full potential.

Erick Rodriguez works for Burten, Bell, Carr Development and the mission statement on their website is to "empower citizens and revitalize blighted and underserved communities.” He’s also involved with the Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, or DSCDO. A typical day for him includes tackling various projects that are economy-friendly in the Cleveland area. One of the neighborhoods he deals with is Kinsman, a poverty-riddled section of the city.

Over 73 percent of families that live in Kinsman are living below the poverty line. A quarter of those people are seniors past the retirement age. Only 6.1 percent of the population has anything beyond a high school diploma. Over half the population are living in housing they can’t afford, and that’s even higher for those that rent. They’re also collecting food stamps; the median household income is just $16,628 -- nearly $10,000 less than the Cleveland average.