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This blog is dedicated to distribute current information about the Coalition for the Homeless in Cleveland or poverty or the state of homelessness. Entries are written by board or staff of the Coalition. The opinions contained in this blog reflect the views of the author of the post. This blog features information on shelters, affordable housing, profiles, statistics, trends, and upcoming events relating to homelessness. We welcome comments, and will remove offensive or inappropriate messages. All postings are signed by the author.

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Daniel Thompson Event for 2014

Got this message from James regarding an upcoming Daniel Thompson event:  Hard to believe, but Daniel has been gone now for nearly ten years.  On May 6, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m., Ayman at Algebra Tea House has agreed to host Drumplay in a performance to honor Daniel's memory, and to raise funds for the Cleveland Street Chronicle - an empowerment project of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

Algebra Tea House was a favorite haunt of Daniel's; and we gather there again for a worthy cause.  The Homeless Grapevine (the previous name of the paper) was also a favorite of Daniels. Daniel often published new pieces of poetry in the paper.   Please let me know ASAP that you will join me in this effort.

Algebra Tea House (Little Italy)

2136 Murray Hill Road

Cleveland, Ohio  44106

(216) 421-9007

I hope you will also spread the word.

Brian Davis

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Democratic Candidate Night for County Executive Primary

Candidates Rogers and Russo at the Candidate Night. Photo by Norman WolfeI attended the Candidates’ Night on April 10 co-sponsored by community organizations that included the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Congress.  The six Democratic candidates running for the County Executive position were invited to participate, and five of the candidates came eagerly to tackle the issues that affect everyone in one way or another in Cuyahoga County.  The event was held at the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Richard Sering Center.

The panel included; State Senator Shirley Smith, high school principal Thomas O’Grady, former sheriff Bob Reid, Democratic operative Tim Russo, and neighborhood activist Walter Allen Rogers Jr.  Len Calabrese who recently retired from the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland did a wonderful job as the moderator.

Each of the co-sponsors submitted 2 to 3 questions that are relevant to their particular agency.  The questions included issues of health care, mental health, and human services, all very critical issues that the candidates will face if elected.

As the evening progressed, forty minutes into the questioning came the question that NEOCH submitted.  I, of course, was anxious to hear the responses to the question that Brian Davis of NEOCH submitted for the homeless community and, by default, everyone that exercise their right to vote.  The elimination of Golden Week (an in-depth explanation of the Golden Week can be found in earlier articles in the blog section of this site) has ruffle feathers in many venues. The one question of the two that was selected to be answered by the candidates was:

 The Secretary of State has recently changed the hours so that a county of 1 million potential voters has to have the exact same hours to process our voters as Van Wert County with only 25,000 potential voters.  Do you believe that this is a threat to our home rule and what are you prepared to do as County Executive to prevent long lines and meet the needs of Cuyahoga County voters who want to vote on the weekend as well as be able to register and vote at the same time?

For the first time that evening, I could tell that the candidates were on the same page about this issue, the long and short of it is—it stinks.  It turned out to be a debate with the governor, whom I might add, was not there.  The words and phrases to describe the elimination of Golden Week went as follow; assault on home rule, direct contradiction of what our Founding Fathers envisioned, disenfranchise any vote is a terrible mistake, violation, Soviet Union, dictators rigging elections, etc.  Who would have ever thought that our election process could be summed up in this manner, but it is good to know that all the candidates have solutions that could bring the voting system back to the post-1776 era.

There were questions about Re-Entry issues, hunger and Medicaid expansion, and wage issues. These many health and human services groups and labor organizations were concerned about the future of the County in the face of government cuts and hostility toward Cuyahoga County down in Columbus.  

by Norman Wolfe

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Fair Housing Training Coming Up

One of the last pieces of Civil Rights legislation to pass was the Fair Housing Act.  It has been expanded and renewed since the 1970s and protects renters from discrimination.  We will have a one hour training on the Act on May 15, 2015 at 10 a.m. We are hoping to have thirty people searching for housing at the event.  Those 30 people will receive a bus pass to attend.   Staff of homeless service providers would also benefit from attending this training.

The forum will last one hour and will start at 10 a.m. on May 15 at the Cosgrove Center in Cleveland.  There will be time to answer questions and learn how to resolve problems with landlords.  This will teach people how to recognize fair housing violations and where to go for help.  Anyone is welcome to attend. We will also try to answer a few general questions about the housing that is available in Cleveland.  

Thanks to Darlene from the Housing Research and Advocacy Center for assisting with this forum. 

Brian Davis

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Training for those Who Minister to Homeless People

If you belong to a church that goes out to feed homeless people or a student group that goes to the streets of Cleveland to help those sleeping rough, we have a training opportunity for you.  We have a group of experienced outreach workers who will provide resource information and answer questions based on their years of service.  They will talk about ethical issues and the philosophy of serving those outside. 

It is tough to build a trusting relationship with those who have nearly given up on society.  Many have faced tough times and have seen the system fail for them.  Others have made huge errors in judgement that they are not willing to admit.  There are those who have trauma or mental health issues that leave them nearly paralyzed with depression or fear.  There so many reasons that lead people to the streets, and it takes a special person to work with these individuals. 

We will have a discussion of resources that are available and talk about problems facing the population.  There will be pizza available so we need those who attend to RSVP for the training session.  Any group that goes out to the streets of Cleveland are welcome to attend. The training is May 8 at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at NEOCH.  Call 216/432-0540 to reserve your space.

Brian Davis

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Update on Ohio Housing Trust Fund

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio has been leading the charge to lift the cap on the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.  At the March COHHIO conference, Bill Faith announced that they had made progress with an amendment to lift the cap on the Ohio Housing Trust Fund. The amendment had been included by Rep. Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) in a piece of legislation known as the Mid-Biennium Review, HB 483. Previously, the money raised from the local Recorders fee when property transfers goes into the Ohio Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve affordable housing.   For years, Ohio has capped the revenue at $50 million with the rest going to the State's General Revenue account.  At the time, the bill was moving smoothly through the Finance committee on its way to a floor vote by the entire Ohio House before the Easter recess.

The amendment was removed from the legislation at the urging of Rep. Ron Maag (R- Lebanon). Apparently, Rep. Maag took the action at the behest of a lobbyist who works for the state county recorders association. Faith said that it was unclear why this action was taken and why the County recorders did not want these funds to go to housing in Ohio.

Faith said in a mailing to supporters, "We're frustrated by this setback, but more determined than ever to lift the cap. Over time, because of the cap, the Trust Fund has forgone approximately $69M that could have been put to good use on homelessness and housing projects across the state."   NEOCH along with housing organizations across the state supported the creation of the Ohio Housing Trust Fund and then designating a revenue source for these housing programs.  We have seen in the past that the County Recorder in Cuyahoga County has often been an obstacle to using part of the Recorder fee for developing affordable housing.

With federal resources for homelessness decreasing by 10% over the last two years, we need the additional funding.   With a sharp increase in families showing up asking for shelter over the last three years, we need some options for helping these families relocate back into housing quickly.   If we can stabilize a family in housing, all the other obstacles facing the family (lack of a job, school issues, treatment) are easier to address with a safe secure place to return to at night.

Please contact your state legislator over the next two weeks to urge them to lift the Trust Fund cap. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

We posted a graph on the last 10 years of revenue from the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.