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CLEVELAND – Donald Laster knows houses, from the foundation to the attic and from the electrical wiring to the heating and cooling system. He has been building, building and selling houses in the greater Cleveland area for three decades.
“I love houses,” said Vice. “You have to love what you do and I love kitchens and bathrooms and I try to do the best job I can.”
While he’s no stranger to repairing old homes, he’s working on the first home he was able to buy and remodel with the help of Contractors on the Rise, a new program from Village Capital Corporation, a subsidiary of Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.
The program works with minority companies to repair destroyed properties.
Village Capital President Dione Alexander said it was an overdue and necessary investment in minority businesses and disinvested communities.
“The first conclusion is that we want to reduce the neighborhoods of the epidemics,” said Alexander. “The second conclusion is that we want to build the capacity and profitability of minority and entrepreneurial women, and the third conclusion is that we want to create generational wealth through home ownership.”
Vices is part of the first contractors in the emerging cohort to provide up to $ 200,000 in funding to each participating contractor. He said he gets the financial backing from them that he couldn’t get from traditional banking institutions that either refuse him credit or offer him credit at extremely high interest rates.
“What they do for you, the banks don’t do for you,” he said. “We as a minority cannot go to Uncle Bob and get a million dollars to start our business just because Uncle Bob believes in us.”
Alexander said that the support contractors that are on the rise through the contractors aren’t just financial.
“We’re guiding all contractors through capacity building,” said Alexander. “How do you have good books, records, and accounting systems? How do you find a lawyer? What do you need your lawyer for? How can you improve your marketing and digital footprint? This is a comprehensive approach to building better minority contractors that will eventually grow and use traditional banking sources for even more capital and investment. “
When Vice found this house in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, he said it needed full rehab, and now with a completely new interior, it was sold. He’s glad he had the opportunity to turn this house into someone’s home.
“It is very important that we serve our community, and this is one way I can serve my community by renovating houses and building new houses,” said Laster.
Alexander said it was all for the church.
There are so many opportunities and so much talent in our neighborhood. Sometimes people just need a few extra tools and resources to make it work, ”said Alexander.
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