Greater Circle Living. An incentive to live near work.

Eligible employees must rent, rehabilitate or purchase homes in the designated geographic area defined by East 79th Street to the west, Superior Avenue to the north, the Cleveland city line to the east and Buckeye-Woodland to the south. The district also includes a portion of East Cleveland up to Elberon Avenue and Roxbury Road.

Rich in culture and history, Greater University Circle is home to seven neighborhoods:

Buckeye-Shaker, including the shops and eateries of Shaker Square

Fairfax, center of an urban renaissance and home to the renowned Karamu Performing Arts Theatre

Hough, nestled at Cleveland Clinic’s front door and ripe for rebirth

Glenville, harboring the Cleveland Cultural Gardens and some of Cleveland’s grandest homes

East Cleveland (southwest quadrant), an emerging commercial and residential district

Little Italy, a welcoming mix of old world restaurants and bakeries and fresh art

University Circle, amongst museums, the home of The Cleveland Orchestra, cultural institutions and the treed grounds of Case Western Reserve University


What is Greater Circle Living?

This forgivable loan program aims to improve access to affordable housing, assist individuals in wealth building, reduce commute times and costs, and enhance quality of life by offering employees of eligible institutions an opportunity to live and work close to world-class cultural institutions and services. It also seeks to increase awareness of the incredible housing opportunities available in the area.

Greater Circle Living includes

  • Financial assistance
  • Training for home buyers
  • Help with the application process
  • Education on housing options
  • Assistance with budgeting/managing finances

Financial assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Families participating in Greater Circle Living remain eligible for housing assistance programs offered by the City of Cleveland and some other agencies.

For complete program rules, participating employers, and eligibility requirements, click here or call Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp. at 216-361-8400. Information is also available at the Living in the Circle Center, 11330 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

How does it work?

Greater Circle Living offers a $10,000 forgivable loan for down payment and/or closing costs for the purchase of an owner-occupied home by full-time employees of any nonprofit institution in Greater University Circle (see map).

Loans are forgiven if the employee continues to work for a participating Greater University Circle institution (see your employer for specific eligibility requirements) and continues to occupy the residence for five years after the loan closes.

Employees of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Museum of Art, and University Hospitals may be eligible for an additional $20,000 forgivable loan for down payment and/or closing costs for the purchase of an owner-occupied home. Employees at these institutions currently living in the district may be eligible for up to $8,000 in matching funds for exterior renovations or - one month’s rental payment in Greater University Circle.

Employees of Judson at University Circle may be eligible for an additional $5,000 forgivable loan for downpayment and/or closing costs for the purchase of an owner-occupied home. Contact Fairfax Renaissance at 216-361-8400 or click here to learn more about eligibility requirements.

The employee benefit may be considered taxable income by the IRS. Employees should consult a tax advisor, as well as their Human Resources/Benefits Office

How do I apply?

  • Complete an inquiry form
  • Register for prepurchase housing counseling orientation
  • Complete pre-purchase counseling sessions
  • Obtain pre-approval from bank/lender
  • Look for a new home
  • Sign a purchase agreement
  • Apply for Greater Circle Living funds
  • Apply for a primary loan with bank/lender


Support for Greater Circle Living Comes From:

Funding partners

Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Foundation
Cleveland Museum of Art
Judson at University Circle
Kent H. Smith Charitable Trust
Surdna Foundation
University Hospitals

COMMUNITY partners

City of Cleveland
Buckeye Area Development Corp.
City of East Cleveland
Community Housing Solutions
Consortium for Economic and Community Development (Hough)
Famicos Foundation
Little Italy Redevelopment Corp.
Living in Cleveland Center
Neighborhood Progress Inc.

PROGRAM Administration and Development

Fairfax Renaissance Development Corp.

Marketing partner

University Circle Inc.


What is Greater Circle Living?How does it work?How do I apply?