To the Editor:
Cleveland Heights recently lost a hero. Charlie Ault passed away on August 31st. You might not know who Charlie was, but you have undoubtedly benefited from the results of his work and passion.
He was a of the Housing Corporation, which eventually changed its name to the (HRRC). He and fellow Forest Hill Church parishioners began to fight social injustices and shady real estate practices during the 1970s through the organization, beginning with a house remodel and sale. Cleveland Heights was changing, and Charlie and his new found group were advocating for peoples' rights, their community's values and neighborhoods' strengths.
Monumental in the effort was establishing a line of credit with a partner that would provide much needed finances. Charlie, with his experience, maturity and business acumen, nurtured through his practice of law, approached the Cleveland Trust Bank, and established what would be become "The Challenge Fund." His foresight cannot be understated.
Let me share some staggering numbers to show how his perseverance and determination has helped our community. The Challenge Fund's growth has enabled almost 1,000 loans with an approximate value of $5,500,000 worth of repairs.
But Charlie's passion was not focused on the financial impact of the HRRC, but on the social justices and equality he and his partners so richly valued. His mission was one of empowerment, education and compassion. I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie and his wife, Janice, at this year's , coincidentally in the exact space where he negotiated the original loan with Cleveland Trust Bank. I'm convinced our beloved Cleveland Heights would be different if not for Charlie's work. I've served on the HRRC board for nine years and the Challenge Fund is vitally important to our organization and the health of Cleveland Heights homes. Its relevance is even more heightened with the recent housing crisis. Simply stated, it gives deserving people an opportunity to maintain their homes.
Charlie will be tremendously missed, but his legacy of social justice, housing rights and home maintenance will be carried on by the HRRC.
Even though Charlie is not here to share our successes and future, I would like to think he looking down at us and guiding our next moves.
HRRC Board President