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Helping SINCE 2015

Since 2015, the Abandoned Homes Project has helped hundreds of families with legal issues in Ohio's housing and probate courts.

Help is provided FREE of charge.

this is serious;

Owners of abandoned homes - even those that have filed bankruptcy, faced foreclosure, divorced, or who've lost their job - face fines of up to $10,000.00, loss of driver's license, and 30 days in jail for each property they own. In the case of 78-year old James Mader, owning two investment homes meant forty-five days in a Cleveland jail. 


Contact  caseworker;

If you think owning a vacant or abandoned home is no big deal, you should think again. Did you know that abandoned homes destroy communities by increasing crime and blight, lowering property values, and encouraging gang and drug activity? We'll show you the REAL COSTS that neighborhoods pay when too many homes become abandoned.


As local governments do all in their power to reduce the staggering vacancy rates that have decimated urban and rural America, one thing is crystal clear: what you’re doing is not working. Learn what works.


Children are dying in abandoned homes while owners of abandoned homes are being jailed while cities make excuses and blame Wall Street. Have we had enough? Anonymously report vacant homes in your neighborhood and we will take it from there.

Latest News:

Jacksonville Jaguars Safety Teams Up WIth the Abandoned Homes Project


Welcome to the Abandoned

Homes Project

The Abandoned Homes Project, founded in 2015, is a collaboration of local leaders from the political, legal, real estate, and social service industries working together to fight for equal justice for owners of vacant and abandoned homes facing current or potential fines, and jail in Ohio's housing courts. We provide free legal assistance to owners of abandoned and vacant homes. We are also lobbying to change antiquated laws that unjustly send many owners of abandoned and vacant homes to jail.

Board of Directors

Our programs are designed and administered with the guidance of our Board of Directors, some of whom also volunteer as caseworkers. Our Board of Directors possesses more than 200 years of combined experience as government and elected officials, real estate professionals, and community and business leaders.

Diane "Dye" Hansen

CEO, What Works! Consulting, Inc.

Diane holds a Master of Communication Management from the University of Southern California and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from California State University at San Bernardino. She holds a High Performance Masters from the High Performance Institute and is a Certified Neurolingustic Programming Coach. She is also a Certified Problem and Change Manager.

Julius L. Cartwright

Past President, NAREB

Mr. Cartwright has been one of the county's leading real estate brokers and real estate investors over the past 20 years and served as President of the 15,000-member National Association of Real Estate Brokers. He is also a former President of the Ohio Realtist Association and has served on the board of directors for several for and non-profit entities with both regional and national focus on urban development.

Kimberly Hodge-Edwards

Councilwoman, City of Warrensville Heights

Mrs. Edwards has served as a councilwoman since 2000. A member of CMHA's Family Self Sufficiency Housing Committee, Mrs. Edwards holds a master's degree in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and has served as a committee/board member for several area non-profits, including the Murtis Taylor Human Services System & Faith Community Credit Union.

Ross Brankatelli

Retired, City of East Cleveland

Mr. Brankatelli has been a state licensed, professional engineer since 1998 and possesses over 40 years of municipal government experience. Before retiring, Mr. Brankatelli served in various administrative roles for multiple Northeast Ohio cities, most notably serving as City Engineer and Service Director for the City of East Cleveland as well as the City Engineer for the City of Aurora.

Ronnie Owens

Retired, City of Cleveland

Mr. Owens' 30+ year public service career was punctuated by his appointment by Mayor Frank Jackson as Commissioner of Waste Management for the City of Cleveland, serving as commissioner from 2003 until his retirement in 2016. He is credited with the deployment of RF-chip recycling containers and managed the weekly collection of trash from over 150,000  homes.

Ross A. Cockfield

Fiscal Officer, E.C. Public Library

Mr. Cockfield has been a community leader and activist in East Cleveland for 30 over years. In the mid-1990's, Mr. Cockfield founded, one of the nation's first African American-owned internet service providers featured in Black Enterprise Magazine. Mr. Cockfield currently serves as the Fiscal Officer of the East Cleveland Public Library and oversees a multi-million dollar budget.

Key People

Our programs are managed and deployed on a day-to-day basis by our Program Director, Alleice Johnson, and her dedicated staff. Our program staff strives to assist property owners in any way possible and may appear in housing court with the Project's clients and attorneys.

Alleice Johnson, Realtor®


Ms. Johnson is a licensed Ohio real estate agent and an expert in the field of urban redevelopment. She has represented hundreds of real estate investors and owner occupants during her real estate career and developed a multi-million dollar housing development in urban Atlanta. Prior to joining the Project, Ms. Johnson managed a portfolio of 1000+ apartment units in Atlanta. Ms. Johnson is responsible for the Project's day-to-day operations and also volunteers as a caseworker.

Wendy S. Rosett, Esquire

General Counsel

Ms. Rosett has practiced law since 1991 and holds a Juris Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University's School of Law and a B.A. in education from Hiram College. Ms. Rosett, who also serves as a magistrate judge in the Shaker Heights Municipal Court, oversees all legal matters concerning the Project including, overseeing active litigation and issuing legal opinions on complex title issues. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Rosett taught special needs children in Ohio's public school systems.

Damian L. Evans

Senior Case Manager

Mr. Evans studied Finance at Ashland University and served two tours of duty in Iraq during a distinguished 12-year Navy career. He previously served as a Mortgage Banker and Vice President at Allied Mortgage Corporation, one of the nation's largest mortgage brokers, and has brokered over 1000 real estate loans with a concentration on first lien mortgage products targeting real estate development projects in urban areas. Mr. Evans leads the Project's Case Management Team.



“I was forced to abandon my home and move into an apartment after being threatened at gunpoint. I had two mortgages that were years behind, owed delinquent taxes, and was living off a fixed income. When I got the letter from the housing court to appear or be arrested, I had no clue what to do. Wendy and Kevin took my case for free, worked with my mortgage company to get the house sold, and even paid for the violations to be corrected. My case was dismissed.  - Norbie E. Diepenseifen, 13624 Puritas Avenue (Cleveland)


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