Louise C. Stokes Scholar House

The Need

The journey to economic prosperity begins at the schoolhouse door, but too many children cross that threshold unprepared for kindergarten. Adults without college degrees often find themselves working low-wage jobs with limited earning potential.

Consider the single parent with two children at home and a full-time job paying minimum wage who earns just over $18,000 a year – more than $3,600 below the federal poverty level for a family of three. Median incomes in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are also not enough to qualify as living wages.

People are often held back from higher paying jobs because of a lack of higher education, and they can’t afford to pay college tuition to make a better life for themselves and their families. It’s a heartbreaking Catch-22. 


The Help

The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House will benefit two generations of Greater Clevelanders by helping low-income parents make a way out of poverty for their families through higher education.

The Louise C. Stokes Scholar House will remove barriers to economic opportunity by providing affordable housing and wrap-around services for low-income college students and their children to support educational success and promote economic mobility.

Construction on Scholar House, which will be within walking distance of Cleveland State University (CSU) and Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), begins in Summer 2022 and will open in 2023. Scholar House college students and their families will benefit from several areas of support, including:

  • Academic amenities for parents and children, from a study space and a computer lab to common space for parenting classes and family activities 
  • Rental support vouchers from the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority  
  • On-site childcare from Step Forward 
  • Academic Support from CSU and Tri-C, including life skills training, academic counseling, and cohort support for first-generation college students 
  • Wrap-around resident services from CHN Housing, United Way and other partners, including   mental health counseling and financial literacy education 

Learn More

Read about Northern Kentucky Scholar House, the program that inspired United Way to spearhead Cleveland Scholar House.

Learn more about Louise C. Stokes, mother of the late Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes and the late Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes, who showed unwavering support of her children and placed a high importance on education.

Watch the highlight reel from the Louise C. Stokes Scholar House groundbreaking ceremony, attended by partners, funders, elected officials, and members of the Stokes family, on June 15, 2022.

Visit our Newsroom

Visit our newsroom to read more about the Louise C. Stokes Scholar House

United Way 211

United Way 211 connects callers to nonprofit agencies that provide emergency housing and other housing-related needs. Dial 211 or visit 211oh.org to connect with a navigator who can help.

Economic Mobility

United Way of Greater Cleveland is funding seven Community Hub grants that are tackling issues related to economic mobility. Learn more about the nonprofits and their programs:

Lexington-Bell Community Center
Helps parents, family members, and home‐based caregivers provide quality learning experiences for children from their earliest days.
Read More
Ravenwood Health
Empowers individuals and families through mental health and addiction services.
Read More
Spanish American Committee
Provides hands-on workforce development training and certification assistance to the Latino/Hispanic community.
Read More
Starting Point
Gives educators the resources they need to prepare kids for kindergarten.
Read More
Towards Employment
Helps people build skills and experience to connect to family-sustaining careers.
Read More
Youth Opportunities Unlimited
Helps high school students navigate their career journeys.
Read More
YWCA of Cleveland
Provides assistance for families and children under five who were disproportionately impacted by homelessness.
Read More
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