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My Origin Story - Cleveland’s Lakeview Terrace - New Deal Public Housing

As part of our labor series that stretches from Pittsburgh to Chicago, through Detroit and Benton Harbor, I stopped in Cleveland, Ohio, where I was born and much of my family still lives.

My mother grew up in an Irish neighborhood off of West 25th Street. And my father grew up in a Hungarian neighborhood on East 120th Street.

My grandparents on my mom’s side, lost their house and savings in the great depression.

One of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal policies focused on building affordable public housing, which created jobs and saved destitute families like my grandparents.

The New Deal’s first public housing project was the Lakeview Terrace in downtown Cleveland.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt came to the 1937 inauguration of Lakeview Terrace. My grandmother, Pearl Ready Smith, met Eleanor on that day and my family has never forgotten.

My grandparents became the first tenants of this beautiful, social experiment in federally funded public housing.

I’m forever indebted to the policies of the New Deal led by FDR.

We must expand the genius and morality of these policies to benefit people now and for generations to come.


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