Community Spotlight – Building & Housing

Welcome back for another episode of Community Spotlight. In this episode, host Leah Longbrake sat down with Ayonna Blue Donald, Director for the Cleveland Department of Building & Housing.

The Department of Building and Housing is responsible for its namesake. Everything from a new hotel being built in downtown to a shed you may want to put up in your back yard, it’s the responsibility of Building and Housing to ensure the structures are both aesthetically pleasing and structurally safe.

The Department of Building and Housing has around 160 staff and can be broken up into three primary divisions:

  • Directors Office
  • Constructing and Permitting
  • Code Enforcement

Many of us are aware construction sites require permits, but what may not be known is that permits are needed for a lot of the repairs or changes that can be made around the house. These can include:

  • Roof Work
  • Window Replacement
  • Plumbing
  • Hot Water Heater
  • Furnace
  • Toilet Installation

Thankfully, applying for a permit is as easy as logging onto the City of Cleveland website: Additionally, permits can be applied for in person at Cleveland City Hall (601 Lakeside Ave.) Room 505, Monday to Friday, 8AM to 4PM.

While the Directors Office and Constructing & Permitting largely deal in the clerical side of the Department, it is the Code Enforcement that is both the largest and covers the most ground. Nearly 80 inspectors make up the division.

Building & Housing works on a “complaint based system.” With as many properties as there are in the City of Cleveland, it would be nearly impossible for inspectors to catch every wrongdoing or infraction, especially if they happen outside of regular work hours.

If you have information on an illegal, hazardous, or otherwise unsafe building or repair operation, you are urged to leave a complaint for Building and Housing at Be sure to leave address and time of infraction in your message.

There’s plenty more valuable information to find out in this episode of Community Spotlight! As always, you can contact the Department of Building and Housing at 216-664-2282 or visit in person at City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave. Room 510. Additionally, you can contact Director Donald via email at