Mission Driven

Established in Cleveland, Ohio in 2020, DNA RISING seeks to bring single mothers and veterans out of homelessness by providing safe, renovated Bridge Housing upon completion of education, job training and recovery programs in partnership with various community organizations that serve them.  

Why DNA you ask? DNA is defined as genetic instructions for the development and function of living things. Here at DNA Rising, we want to provide an essential component and building block for a healthy and happy life which is 'Home'.

The Motivation

Danielle Acosta, Founder and President, was shocked by the glaring, overwhelming needs while working as an educator of low income and homeless students, and as a real estate investor and property manager. Although there are more than 80K vacant housing units in Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District reported 2,972 homeless students in 2018. Danielle quickly realized that affordable, safe, clean housing is in short supply as student parents, tenants, social workers, and contractors described the heartbreaking rejection by rental owners who don’t accept housing vouchers, the several year, several hundred people long wait lists in order to enter the county housing voucher lottery (not guaranteed to receive one), slum lords who don’t make repairs or have allowed the water to be turned off, and the limited choices from roach and mice ridden rental property options in high crime areas. These are just a few of the challenges some must face while attempting to locate and secure a Bridge (between temp shelter and permanent) home for their families. Danielle was inspired to affect change.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” -Edmund Burke


Dignity: A safe, clean place to call home

Tangible results: Quality renovated housing

 Commitment: Building community

The How of it all:

The mission of DNA RISING is to provide housing for, and thereby enhancing the lives of those community members who are striving to rise out of homelessness. We will accomplish this mission by acquiring donated properties from various sources such as the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, private owners looking to transfer an inherited or unwanted property, or owners needing assistance to alleviate tax liens. The properties will then be inspected and assessed by partner inspectors, appraisers and project managers in order to determine the renovation plan and budget. Local tradesmen will renovate the properties for the purpose of renting (up to 3 years) to formerly or currently homeless veterans or single mothers. The vision for DNA RISING is to actively contribute to the renovation, improvement and rebirth of Cleveland’s inner city and first ring suburbs, while supporting the underserved populations of this magnificent city by providing affordable Bridge rental housing. 

The Vision

Our renovated properties will serve the purpose of long term (up to 36 months) rental Bridge housing following completion of education, job or recovery programs. Residents will be encouraged to pursue options to purchase, and transition from tenant to homeowner, dependent upon the resident’s life stage and financial status. DNA RISING is committed to becoming a stable and dedicated servant of the community as we combat homelessness and work hand-in-hand with other community service partner organizations towards a common goal: Renewing Cleveland one home at a time.

Volunteer Opportunities

* Demolition

*Clean Out

* Rental Maintenance Person

*Yard Clean Up

*Completed Project Cleaner


The DNA RISING Blog is where you can find news, details on our upcoming projects, and important items about life in our community.

What's the big deal?

According to The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless:

Individual and Family Statistics

• NEOCH estimates that there were about 23,000 people experiencing homelessness in 2018 in Cuyahoga County 

· Cleveland public schools recorded 2972 homeless students in 2018.

· Family homelessness has increased 35% to 2572 individuals.

• In 2018, the minimum wage in Ohio was $8.30/hour. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a single individual would need to make $15.25/hour while working 40 hours a week to afford a two bedroom apartment. A single mother would need to work 73 hours a week under current minimum wage to afford a two bedroom apartment.

• Cleveland shelters have 906 beds for single individuals and 287 beds for families. The number of available beds has decreased by 444 units in the past decade

• · 618 people have reported staying in a dangerous place before entering the shelter system.

• · NEOCH estimates that there are 77,000 people who need subsidized affordable housing

Unitedwaycleveland.org: 2019, There are an estimated 390 homeless families (with children)


Over the past ten years, the number of homeless students has increased by 70%

-Based on data from 44 states, the 2016-2017 national average graduation rate for homeless students was 64% (36% Dropout rate)

Family Housing Fund, 

*Half of homeless children contract two or more illnesses per month 

*Sixteen percent of

older homeless children, versus nine percent of housed children, have one or more chronic health problems, such as cardiac disease,

peripheral vascular disease, endocrine dysfunction, or neurological disorders.

*Homeless children are 20% more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than housed children

Veteran Statistics:

Dayton Daily News.com Estimated 676 Homeless veterans in the state of Ohio as of 2019

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless: Cuyahoga county estimate, there are currently 250 homeless veterans 

Let's DO Something together!

A Letter to our Supporters.....

Dear Potential Supporter or Partner:

Thank you for considering joining us in our mission to assist our greater Cleveland community members who are rising out of homelessness or transitioning from tenants to homeowners. We are grateful for your time and willingness to listen as we do our best to address the dire need for Bridge Housing within our area. 

As real estate, education and financial service professionals, we have seen the impact of poverty and homelessness first hand. The realization that children were sleeping in a car, or arriving to school an hour early in the dead of winter trying to enter the building to get out of the cold was devastating. As a property manager, our founder has heard horror stories from tenants who had endured a home with no heat or water, dangerous malfunctioning appliances/systems, and other neglected maintenance and repairs because they were afraid to complain for fear of landlord retaliation and the loss of their homes and vouchers. Stable tenancy and/or home ownership are well out of reach for these individuals.

Did you know that, according to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a single individual would need to make $15.25/hour while working 40 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment? A single mother or veteran would need to work 73 hours a week under the current minimum wage ($8.30) to afford a two-bedroom apartment (NEOCH). The wait list and lottery system to qualify for a county housing voucher could be years long and there is no guarantee of being chosen to receive assistance with paying rent. Even upon receipt of a voucher, many owners do not accept them and some of those who do offer mice and roach infested units in high crime areas. Safe, affordable, clean rental unit inventory is extremely low, but demand is astronomically high. 

As we seek to help single mothers and veterans rising out of homelessness, we do so with the knowledge of several disturbing statistics that motivate our efforts: 

• Half of homeless children experience two or more illnesses per month 

• Homeless children are 20% more likely to suffer from anxiety, sleep deprivation and depression than housed children

• 80% of homeless children fall into the bottom quartile of Achievement test

(Family Housing Fund)

• Research produced in America shows the increased risk of adolescent drug abuse among the homeless population, with 71% of homeless children reporting drug or alcohol abuse disorders (Gilvarry, 2000)

• Based on data from 44 states, the 2016-2017 national average graduation rate for homeless students was only 64% (36% Dropout rate)

• Over the past thirteen years, the national number of homeless students has increased by 70%

 (Schoolhouse connection.org)

It is important to note that our organization will seek funding initially for phase 1 (start-up and initial projects), phase 2 we are planning for 50% rental income and 50% funding (acquire and renovate more homes for rent and resell), phase 3: we will independently support ourselves with rental and home sales revenue.

 Individuals and families alike long for a safe, clean, affordable place to live. Everyone deserves a place to call home, but not everyone has access to such a place. With community support and partnerships, we have a vision to renovate as many of the 80,000 vacant Cuyahoga county units/homes as possible, transforming entire communities for those rising tenants and homeowners who are in need. Give the foundation of home by contributing to our effort as we strive to protect and nurture our most vulnerable. Join Us….