2: Starting Out, Starting Over

Public housing is complicated. From urban idylls to forgotten blights, the projects have seen their share of dreams and depression. But despite its history, public housing remains a place where people can start out — or start over.

Woodhill Homes Estate is like that. It's a place within a place: a public housing estate, its own little enclave, in the Cleveland neighborhood of Woodland Hills. About 700 people live there, both separate from, and part of, Woodland Hills and the city at large.

In this episode, and a mini-episode to follow, we visit the estate's Community Center to talk to its manager, Robert White, and assistant manager, Shavon Colton, about the programs they run. They tell us about making Woodhill Homes a happy, healthy place to live, while also helping its residents connect with — and one day rejoin — the world outside, reclaiming old lives lost, or starting new ones.

We also learn how Mr. White is starting over, after a mistake in his past ended his career and derailed his life.

(Historic photo of Woodhill Homes, circa 1941, courtesy of the
Cleveland Memory Project.)