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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.


We Need Help Printing Our Homeless Street Card

Cleveland Clinic Dropped a 25 Year Tradition of Collaboration

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is looking for help printing 10,000 copies of the Homeless Street Card.  These are a one sheet (front and back) list of important phone numbers and contact information for every social service provider who can help homeless people in the community.  It features the meal programs, health care facilities and all the help lines for drug and alcohol addiction.  We give them out in 75 locations throughout the community such as libraries, hospitals, shelters, and police stations.   We were informed on September 14 by the Cleveland Clinic that they exhausted their charitable dollars before June 3, 2015 (the day we sent our first request) and therefore could not print the Street Card this year.

For the past 25 years, the hospitals have rotated printing the card with one year MetroHealth then the next year University Hospital and finally Cleveland Clinic accepting the cost of printing.  Even during the recession and downturn when some of the hospitals were making huge cutbacks, they still maintained their commitment to this important publication.  It is one of the most important sheets of information for those who do not have a smart phone or easy access to a computer.  Chris Abood, the director of Community Partnership and Employee Engagement, gave a list of the services that they provide to homeless, underserved and disabled and said, “In short, urban Cleveland has been the focus for many years and our range of services, at no charge and above and beyond health care, are substantial.”  This leaves the Coalition without a way to print the 10,000 copies of the double sided Street Card so late in the year.   NEOCH wishes that the Clinic would have told us back in June that they did not have the funds to print the Street Card so we would have had an extra three months to search for a new donor. 

It typically only costs $900 to print the Street Card, but some of the hospitals do it internally and then we just pick up the finished product when they are done.  We thank the entity that prints the Street Card by adding their logo to the Card and thank them on our website.  The card is so valuable to direct homeless people to local health clinics and not to the emergency room.  The Street Card helps low income people find a local hot meal program, and can help find a warm place out of the cold.  We need your help to print the 2015-16 version of the Street Card.  Contact Brian Davis at the Homeless Coalition if you want to help.

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


NEOCH Board Opposes "Diversion" for All Families in County

NEOCH Opposes “Diversion” for all Families in Cuyahoga County

In 2012, Coordinated Intake went live with all the publicly funded shelters signing an agreement with the County that they would accept referrals only from Coordinated Intake.  This intake center is now the central point of access for all shelter in Cuyahoga County.  If you want a bed in Cleveland or Cuyahoga County, you have to go to 1736 Superior and complete the application for shelter.  You must complete this step if you want to get housing assistance, transitional shelter, or get on some of the affordable housing waiting lists.  As part of Coordinated Intake, they hired Cleveland Mediation Center to oversee a program called “diversion.”  This keeps people out of the shelter who have other places to live.  There are people who are evicted, but still have time to find other accommodations but mistakenly think that they are homeless.  There are individuals who are having a short term disagreement with family or friends that can be reconciled with a trained mediator.  NEOCH has watched this develop over three years and have repeatedly received complaints from families who were told that the shelters were full and thought that they were denied access.    It is now three years later and the NEOCH staff believe that diversion is not working.  More than one –quarter of the families who show up asking for help are “diverted” to non-shelter locations.  Many do not realize that they have a right to shelter in Cuyahoga County or that the County will open an overflow shelter if every shelter bed is taken.

The NEOCH Board urges Cuyahoga County Council to re-evaluate “diversion” for families and those who show up requesting help should be offered a place to stay.  We support most of the goals of the Coordinated Intake to make it easier to find shelter and we are glad to see the move to a separate facility away from the shelters.  We have watched while families are provided confusing information and mistakenly leave the Coordinated Intake site thinking that they were denied shelter.  We have come across women with children sleeping in their cars after being “diverted” from shelter.  The intake does not give written information indicating that a person has a right to shelter. They do not provide a list of rights or a process for filing a complaint if they feel they were improperly diverted.  We also are not sure that a woman would disclose she is facing violence in the home to a stranger especially in an interview in front of her significant other and her children.  NEOCH opposes diversion of any family with children who make the decision to seek help in Cuyahoga County.

Background on Diversion: 

  • Families have already a special sensitivity that their children could be taken into custody of the foster care system if the County finds they are without housing.  If they make the decision to ask for help they do not need to be second guessed by the county funded intake staff.  Families do not want to disagree with the staff, because they may fear that their children will be placed into the foster care system or a child abuse worker will show up to interview them.
  • Women may not want to disclose to a total stranger that she is living in a violent home and so she cannot return to that place she slept last night.  This is only further complicated since the interviews with families are not done with each individual.  The mom may not want to disclose in front of her children that she is being abused. It may be the case that the abuser is present at the Coordinated intake interview and so will not allow the mother to disclose abuse.  It is dangerous to return these women to their home.
  • Many times the place that the woman fled is overcrowded or roach or rat infested.  Will she disclose to these strangers that she has been living in these conditions with her children over the past few months?
  • The diversion staff is constantly pressing the family that all the shelter beds are full and so it would be better to go back where you slept the day before until a bed opens.  This is not the fault of the family that all the shelter beds are full.  They do not care that hundreds of families are suffering.  We should not offer to help families later because all the beds are full.  These families are reaching out to their government for help and should not be turned away. 
  • Diversion is championed as a “strength based system driven by clients,” but NEOCH receives two or three calls a week from families confused by the program.  They misunderstood what was told to them thinking that they were turned away from shelter because they were all full.  There is nothing provided to the client in writing saying that they have a guaranteed right to shelter in Cuyahoga County.  We are tricking taxpayers into leaving the building thinking that they were denied shelter.
  • We have yet to receive a complaint about being diverted from shelter by a single individual so therefore we are only asking the County to stop diverting families.  The fragility of families as they see their finances collapse should not have the added complication of saying the wrong thing to a staff member at Coordinated Intake that results in the family sleeping in their car. 
  • We believe that families who make the decision to ask for shelter help should be provided that assistance. They should not be diverted into possibly dangerous or unsafe choices.  The heads of households know what is best for their children and not some stranger who interviews them for a half hour. 
  • There is no effective independent grievance process in place if you feel your family was tricked out of going to shelter.  There is no one within local government who will take a complaint about diversion or coordinated intake.  In fact, you are never given any information about what your rights are when you show up asking for shelter in Cuyahoga County.

It is for these reasons that the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board of Trustees is asking Cuyahoga County to suspend all diversion activities for families with children seeking shelter. 

As voted on by the NEOCH Board on September 17, 2015

For a print out of the alert click here (pdf).

Here are all our Advocacy Alerts


HUD Introduced a New OnLine and Smartphone Resource


In August, 2015, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD unveiled a new tool on their website and a new app that can be downloaded on your phone to help find affordable housing. The new feature and app are called HUD Resource Locator and there are several helpful functions that each one provides.  Housing has a lot more units and buildings listed, and the homeless resources section is not useful at all. You can find an inventory of the housing in the communtiy and the housing specifically available to seniors and disabled individuals.  These are only the HUD subsidized units so not a comprehensive list of units.   It is much easier to use with a smartphone that can tie into your GPS on your phone to narrow down your location. 

You can:

  •  Find affordable housing opportunities near me
  •  Find a HUD Office Near Me
  •  Find My Local Public Housing Authority/Agency PHA
  •  Find Homeless Resources Near Me
  •  Find Affordable Elderly and Special Needs Housing
  •  View all Resources

The HUD Resource Locator – an innovative mobile app and website to help further expand and enhance traditional HUD customer service.  Now you can search using these new functions and find housing with just a mouse click!    The resource locator will offer real-time HUD housing information at the fingertips of people looking to quickly connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies to inquire about housing availability and other housing-related questions. This gives people leads on where to look for housing, but does not tell the availability of housing like HousingCleveland can provide.

The HUD resource locator is one of several services provided by HUD’s Enterprise Geographic Information System (eGIS). This tool uses GIS technology to pinpoint where resources are located and allow anyone with a smartphone or tablet to get relevant contact information. For example, the new app can be used during a disaster when families need to find housing, or when social service providers are helping persons experiencing homelessness look for available housing assistance. In an era where people are increasingly using smartphones to find information, the HUD resource locator app and mobile site provides an easy tool for anyone to use to find housing resources. The resource locator uses housing data from HUD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The HUD Resource Locator app delivers real-time HUD housing information at the touch of a button,” said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “In today’s global economy where more and more people have a smartphones or similar devices, HUD is committed to finding ways to make it easier for Americans to access our resources and find opportunities to move ahead.”

The HUD Resource Locator is a mobile app and mobile website that includes:

  • Information about commonly requested housing-related resources from HUD field and regional offices throughout the country.
  • Location data and contact information for HUD Field and Regional Offices, Public Housing Authorities, Multifamily Housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credit apartments, USDA Rural Housing, and Continuum of Care Homeless staff.
  • Maps that are seamlessly linked via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, email and text messages.
  • GIS and Browser Location Detection to show resources in proximity to the user.
  • Ability to export search results to Excel and to generate a custom PDF resource guide.

The app and website puts landlord phone numbers, addresses and up to date property information about available properties at your fingertips. 

The HUD Resource Locator mobile app is available via Apple iTunes, Google Play Marketplace and also on your computer browser at”  It only takes a couple minutes to download, then once installed you give them access to your location and you are ready to do property searches which give you up to date info on what is available in your area.

Brian and Denise and HUD's Press Release


News Updates This Last Week

In Honolulu, many homeless people say they are losing precious belongings, medicine, food, and even their identification as the city aggressively clears out encampments. With some of the largest homeless encampments in the country, the city has been conducting sweeps since last November in order to enforce laws which prohibit blocking or storing property on sidewalks. 

Goodwill Industries of Central Oklahoma plans to use a new $1.47 million grant to continue expanding its services to homeless veterans in the Oklahoma City metro area. With the announcement this week that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs renewed funding for a third year, the program's director said he hopes to continue ramping up those services in surrounding areas.  This at the same time Goodwill is under investigation for the Ability One program to provide jobs to disabled individuals. 

A homeless woman previously convicted of murdering a homeless advocate has pleaded guilty to lesser charges. The Shawnee County District Attorney announced Tuesday that Kimberly Sharp will be sentenced Sept. 30 for voluntary manslaughter and aggravated battery in the death of 38-year-old David Owen, a homeless advocate from Topeka who disappeared in June 2006.

Josh McManus said at the beginning of his speech at the Team Jackson luncheon on Monday that he was prone to make controversial statements. Two examples: Detroit is misunderstood and is on the rebound. By feeding the homeless, churches in downtown Jackson create unintended consequences by giving street people reason to hang around.

A police chief in southwestern Ohio says he wasn't surprised that one of his officers delivered a pizza to a homeless man. Middletown Officer Jason Deaton was recognized on the police division's Facebook Wednesday after he gave pizza and a drink to a man who was sleeping on the streets.

An Ohio County woman isn't giving up her dream helping homeless women and children.  A zoning board denied Angela Porter-Stewart's proposal for a new homeless shelter last year but now---she's found a new location off Highway 62 in Beaver Dam.

Congressman Tim Ryan announces $119,552 for Shelter Care, Inc. in Tallmadge. This grant will fund the Street Outreach Services program, which addresses the needs of runaway, homeless and street youth by providing outreach services to help young people leave the streets and transition to a safe living arrangement.

A once homeless man is now working to help others overcome adversity. Daryl Dalton worked to organize the Homeless Community Cookout and Clothes Giveaway at Macintosh Park on Sunday. Several local organizations chipped in to help sponsor the event.

Richard Gere stars in a new movie about a mentally ill man who becomes homeless. Gere has been testifying in support of improving access to care for homeless mentally ill people. Time Out of Mind is a movie about homelessness and dropping out of society. 

Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Today is National Voter Registration Day


National Voter Registration Day
Is Today--September 22, 2015

Please join Nonprofit VOTE, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and OhioVotes in celebrating National Voter Registration Day, today, Tuesday, September 22.

National Voter Registration Day is a national campaign, to ensure that everyone in the nonprofit community has updated voter registration and is registered to vote. 

Individuals Can Take Action

  • Register to vote. In Ohio, the deadline for voter registration is October 5 for the Nov. 3 general election. Download the voter registration form here. While you cannot register to vote online in Ohio, you can change your address electronically. If you have moved since you last voted update your information by clicking here.
    • Encourage your friends and family to register to vote before the October 5 deadline.

Organizations Can Take Action
Nonprofits are in a key position to practice voter engagement with low income and marginalized populations. These populations are chronically underrepresented when it comes to participating in elections. Because of this, many of the issues facing low income communities go unaddressed by elected officials. More than 1,200 nonprofit organizations across the country will join this effort on September 22.

If you are an organization in direct contact with low income and historically marginalized voters:

From Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio