STORIES OF HOPE

  • The Dividends from the Lord’s Work
    Doing the Lord’s work generates many beneficiaries. As mentioned in the previous story, BHITC recently dedicated its fifth housing renovation project on Trowbridge Avenue with eight previously homeless veterans already moved in. Yet, as God always would have it, the blessings produce a return to the givers, as well as the recipients. For members at Bethel Lutheran Church located in Bath and Fellowship Bible Church located in Chagrin Falls, who helped turn the dreams of the Trowbridge project’s tenants into realities, the spiritual dividends are high. […]
  • First-Ever Rally CLE Held in September!
    On Saturday, September 21, BHITC kicked off its first-ever Rally CLE event, a new initiative and key element to its community development efforts in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton and Stockyards (CFSY) neighborhoods. The event, which will become a recurring effort, is centered on supporting the ideas residents in these neighborhoods have for improving their own community. Whether it’s a garden, mural, or a community toolshed, BHITC wants to help leverage the leadership that already exists in these neighborhoods through Rally CLE.  […]
  • A True Labor of Love – Home by Home, Street by Street
    “Housing is the building block of neighborhoods, especially neglected urban neighborhoods. Leveraging the capacity of the Church to impact housing sends a powerful witness about the lordship of Jesus,” says Brian Upton, Executive Director, BHITC. In the spring newsletter, BHITC expanded upon its housing and community development initiative, which is part of a 10-year vision, and provided an update on a housing project for veterans, located on Trowbridge Avenue in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood. […]
  • From Humble Beginnings, God Planted the Seeds of BHITC 20+ Years Ago
    While many faces have changed, the roots of BHITC have always been the same. Humility, dignity, grace and restoration – for people, family, neighborhood, city and world. Phyliss Boggs knows this to be true more than most connected to the BHITC family. Before the organization was officially established, she was invited by a co-worker in the late 1990’s to what was then called “Food for Thought,” a time every Tuesday over lunch where people from downtown – office people and the homeless from the streets – gathered for both tangible and spiritual food. […]
  • Mentoring One Refugee Family Leads to the Welcoming of Many More Refugee Families to Cleveland
    A pairing meant to help Sarpaz Qader’s family resettle in America has flowered into a friendship that spans generations. Volunteer at The Hope Center for Refugees and Immigrants, Karen Vaughn became the Kurdish family’s mentor about five years ago, helping them navigate the challenges of building a new life in a country where they didn’t speak the language or understand the culture. Over time, that relationship has deepened. […]
  • Housing is Just the Beginning
    Community instability is the single largest obstacle to Kingdom work in urban neighborhoods. In its 15+ years of urban ministry, BHITC has seen and heard the impact of poverty first-hand from churches, church planters, fellow non-profits and families connected to its ministries, and the outcomes are undisputable.  In situations of poverty, people often find themselves forced to move for a variety of reasons, and as a result, faith communities in these types of neighborhoods never see outcomes that reflect their level of investment and relationship with its people. […]
  • Hear from Dr. Don Davis, Founder and Director, The Urban Ministry Institute, World Impact
    Great church planting movements have a few key ingredients. Don Davis spoke in Cleveland in early April, and hopefully you caught him in person, but even if you did, you might like to hear his heart on church planting movements again. […]
  • The Next Era of Building Hope in the City
    As you might remember, 2018 was Building Hope in the City’s (BHITC) 15th anniversary year. As the organization and its board of directors reflected on those years, adjustments to more clearly reflect the heart of the ministries led to a rewriting of the mission statement and a reframing of the program structure. The overall goal with the changes is to structure BHITC’s ministries around WHY and HOW the organization does what it does, rather than focusing on the programs themselves. […]
  • West Park Residents Drawn to Volunteer at The Hope Center
    Refugees and immigrants from around the world use services at BHITC’s The Hope Center (The Center), and some of its volunteers come from right around the corner! Their West Park neighborhood has been home to The Center since 2015 and many of The Hope Center students are their neighbors. Eileen Wilson, BHITC’s Director of Refugee and Immigrant Ministries, estimates 75 percent of the students at The Center live in West Park or nearby in Lakewood. “These volunteers are not just helping, but actually walking life with people. The Hope Center, in a way, is reshaping the neighborhood.” […]
  • Joint Mission Between Refugee and Volunteer Leads to Citizenship
    “May God bless them.”  Racheal Reech’s words, punctuated by her megawatt smile, reflect her gratitude to the volunteers at BHITC’s The Hope Center (The Center) and its staff who helped her become an American citizen earlier this year. […]
  • God’s Plan (and Footprint!) for Common Threads is Growing
    A little more than five short years ago, the staff and board of BHITC dreamed of what else God could do through its ministries for the people and the city of Cleveland.  In March of 2016, BHITC signed a lease for 22049 Lorain Road in Fairview Park with a dream of supporting the organization through businesses that do good – social enterprises – the first of which would be a thrift store located in this space.  […]
  • Meet Josh Miller, Church Planter
    Bringing people from all walks of life into a family, a home and a church. Meet church planter, Josh Miller, and his family who lead Cove City Church in University Circle. Q:        Tell us about you. Were you born and raised in Northeast Ohio? If not, where? A:         I was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. Shortly after marriage, my wife and moved to North Carolina. While we lived there, God began to place in our heart a desire to move back to Northeast Ohio to plant a church. […]
  • Home Sweet Home Away From Home
    Watch for even more great things happening at The Hope Center (The Center) now that Building Hope in the City (BHITC) purchased the building!  That’s right, as of February of 2018, the building at 15135 Triskett Road in Cleveland, which the organization began renting two days a week just three short years ago, now officially belongs to BHITC! […]
  • God Blesses Property and Personal Restoration Efforts
    God is in the restoration business – in more ways than you might expect!  By His grace, He restores and refreshes the hearts and souls of all who cry out to Him, but recently at Building Hope in the City (BHITC), He’s also been at work on the near west side of Cleveland renovating not only hearts, but also homes! […]
  • The Anticipation of the Advent Season Reflected in Church Planting
    Church planting is much like the advent season. There's great anticipation, praying, waiting and longing for what is to come. It's a time when what God has stirred in the hearts of many promises to give new life and hope to those who are watching with great expectation - all because of Jesus. […]
  • Hope Weaved Throughout Seven-Year Education Journey
    God has an amazing way of weaving people’s stories together, doesn’t He?! Take the stories of Ran Maya Basnet and Stephanie Labovitz. The two originally met in 2010 when Labovitz was a brand-new volunteer tutor with Building Hope in the City (BHITC) and Basnet’s family was newly resettled to Cleveland from Nepal. At that time, BHITC ran a tutoring program at St. Colman Catholic Church on W. 65th St., where week after week, the two began getting to know each other. […]
  • Relocation Leads to Planting Renew Church Cleveland
    Dynamic, Jesus-loving leaders, such as Pete Pinkowski, a church planter shown here with his family, are the men BHITC supports through this effort. He spent a few minutes sharing with us about how God is at work in his life and the vision he has for leading people closer to Jesus. […]
  • One Year to the No. 1 Spot in Town
    Great deals on top of greater deals was the theme all weekend long to celebrate the one year anniversary of Common Threads! Throughout the weekend of June 23-25, shoppers enjoyed stacking coupons on top of daily deals on top of already low prices at BHITC’s first-ever thrift store and social enterprise, scoring the store’s biggest deal opportunities ever. […]
  • Generous Donors Leave Legacies for Hope
    On an unsuspecting day in December 2015, Executive Director Brian Upton received a phone call that Parma resident and lifelong Lutheran, Jean Gschwend, had left a generous estate gift to BHITC. No one in the organization had heard of Jean, let alone known her. BHITC was shocked and overwhelmed by the tremendous blessing […]
  • Redeeming Work, Inspiring Excellence at Common Threads
    “Everyday, I walk into this store and I feel like God made this job just for me,” says Jeff Stredney, BHITC’s Director of Social Enterprise, describing the experience of launching Common Threads. The store, located in Fairview Park, opened in June of 2016 as the first business venture of HopeWorks. […]