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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.

The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event

Gary Katz Named Director of CTO

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless was a program of the Cleveland Tenants Organization while NEOCH struggled in the late 1990s.  We would not be in existence if it was not for the Spencer Wells and CTO Board extending a hand up to NEOCH.  They are one of the most critical services in our community to balance the relationship between landlords and tenants.  They are a loud voice in pushing the preservation and development of affordable housing, and they help prevent homelessness locally.  CTO is a unique organization in the United States and needs to be fully supported as an essential service.  Today, the CTO Board announced that they have hired a new Executive Director.

On behalf of the Cleveland Tenants Organization Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce the hiring of Gary R. Katz as Executive Director effective March 1st, 2017.  Gary comes to Cleveland Tenants Organization from his current position as Mediation Officer and Deputy Bailiff with Cleveland Housing Court.  Gary brings extensive experience in mediation, landlord tenant relations, community issues, and program management from his 11 years with Cleveland Housing Court, his work with Bellaire Puritas Development Corporation and his time with private and non-profit mediation firms.   During the month of March, Interim Executive Director Marie Kittredge will be staying on as consultant to assure a smooth transition. Please join us in welcoming Gary Katz to the CTO family!

Gary has worked with NEOCH to help with our Housing 101 workshops and is a regular presenter at the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance meetings on behalf of the Court.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Nathan Testifies About the Women's Shelter

Testimony of Nathan Manthey on February 14, 2017 County Council Meeting after the discussion about the homeless single women. 

This meeting had a large crowd discussing the transformation of the Quicken Loan Arena with public money.  Here is the link to the testimony with Nathan's remarks at 1 hour 24 minutes in this YouTube video.  There were two other commentators on homelessness after Nathan and two young people before Nathan (at 1 hr 19 minutes Kathleen Mosier and Andrew Shearer at 1 hour 22 minutes) who talked about spending money on homelessness/housing rather than renovating a playground for well to do members of our community.  Here are the comments of Nathan Manthey previously of Cleveland Institute of Art:

"Hello County Council.  My name is Nathan Manthey, I am a practicing artist in the Cleveland area and I am here to talk to you about the current contract that is up for bid for staffing concerns at the Norma Herr Women’s Center.  Basically, my interest takes place last year, I was a senior at the Cleveland Institute of Art and I took a course called Project Find.  The objective of that course was to establish relations between artists at the Cleveland Institute of Art and homeless and other displaced communities within Cuyahoga County.   

Our first stop was at the Norma Herr Women’s Center and we met with an employee there, the name of Richard Carr.   That employee asked us, What kind of art project we would be interested in?  And after discussion with him he told us that the project that he thinks that would benefit Norma Herr would be a hard or metal sculpture outside of the building. And the reason for that was because he claimed the women that came there were angry and vengeful and that to have a metal or a sculpture made out of anything besides metal would ultimately mean it would be abused and torn apart by these women. 

I didn’t appreciate that distilling of the spirit of the homeless women so I met directly with them.  We created a project where they would go out on empty lots since there are a surplus of empty lots in Cuyahoga County and they hosted mock ground breaking [or] ribbon cutting ceremonies for fictitious women shelters. They got to create their own speeches and they got to thank whoever (sarcastically thank) whoever they thought should provide these for them.  When I voiced the original idea of this project to the director of the Office of Homeless Services, I believe she’s the director, Ruth Gillett, she dissuaded me or tried to dissuade me from continuing on with this project. And she said essentially that the women would be confused by the idea of this project and that they would believe that the shelters were actually being built. And that they were, that they would essentially be angry by that. 

My problem with that is that these people that represent the staffing at the shelter do not hold the women in high esteem.  If you are a social welfare program you need to care more about the people that you are delivering that social welfare to.  I believe that Frontline Services and I have talked to several, several members of the Norma Herr Women’s Center, all of them have complained to me about the current staff of Frontline Services and there is some slow improvement but I know there is finally other contract bidders for the staffing concerns this year and I want the committee to strongly consider going with those other bids besides Frontline.  That’s the end of my statement."


by Brian Davis and transcribed by Denise Moore

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Homeless Congress Notes for February

Homeless Congress

February 9, 2017---Cosgrove Center

Organized by NEOCH

Members were informed of the dates for upcoming events which are the Cuyahoga County Council meeting, the Cuyahoga County Health and Human Services Committee meeting, and the ADAMHS Board meeting. Brian Davis, executive director of NEOCH, organized the meeting and helped to guide the group through the agenda.

Dale Miller of the Cuyahoga County Council, Ruth Gillett of the County Office of Homeless Services and Eric Sandy, the Managing Editor of Scene Magazine were all in attendance.  A pamphlet “The Fair Housing Rights of People in Shelter” was passed out to members and guests. 

Next, Ruth Gillett gave members an update about the Rapid Re-Housing program.  She asked if anyone heard anything from any of the case managers at the shelter about referrals.  Some said they had.  Although it is still work in progress, she said referrals can be made now.  She responded to the question, “How much income is needed”?  Ruth said there is no set income.  She was asked if having a felony would prevent someone from being able to participate in the program.  Although there are some felonies that are permitted, she went over the limitations.  Anyone with Tier 3 sex offense will not be permitted to apply for this program, and arson was another.   Basically, felonies that make the individual difficult to secure a lease will not be a part of the program.

One of the members complained that there is no talk about housing on the Federal level and regular cuts to public housing.  Ruth suggested writing an elected official.  She was asked about how many people does she think can be placed.  Her response was about 200.  

Ruth went through a detailed explanation of the rapid rehousing program in response to a question.  She explained that the program will pay the security deposit and 2 months’ rent after it has been determined that the participant can afford the rent when the voucher runs out.  She informed everyone that staff is still being trained to refer applicants. 

 The next topic was the HUD Point in Time Count.  She explained that this is a count of people who have become homeless for the year.  The count was done on January 25, 2017.  She informed everyone that this is done to track how many people became homeless from year to year.  It is also a way to track if there is an increase or decrease in the numbers.  Next, she talked about time limits for the shelters and wanted more input. 

This was a continuation of the feedback from the January meeting.  She asked if time limits should only be for people with an income.  She suggested that 45 days should be the limit.  Members began discussing the problems with this which included staff’s lack of input to assist with finding housing and transportation to look for housing.  One member said the case manager should be the one with time limits not the residents.  Unexpected changes in income was also a factor.  Residents who turn down housing was addressed as well, and that topic will be readdressed.  Client choice was the immediate response.  The client does not have to accept the housing if they don’t like it.  NEOCH passed out in the packet their opposition to shelter time limits that goes back to 2005.

Next the raffle was held.  Eight winners were awarded hoodie sweatshirts and one winner received a large book bag. 

The County is still deciding who will run the women’s shelter and Brian brought to the attention of the members that some of the current residents went on television and provided the link so everyone can watch it on tv or online.  We applauded them!  He also informed the women currently living at the shelter that they can speak with Eric Sandy from Scene Magazine after the meeting.

After questions from some of the women, Ruth explained what the bidding process entails and where everything is now.  They are still in negotiations right now and a decision will be made in March.  It will be announced who will be the provider for the shelter at that time.  One member was upset that no formerly homeless person was involved in the decision process.  Also, the decision makers were hand-picked and did not involve groups that were advocates for homeless people.  One member asked if the Review Board will have access to the grievances to see what is really going on.  Brian explained that the grievance process were included in the proposals.  Another member responded that most of the time the agencies talk about successes not addressing the issues.  One member had concern that the review committee will be swayed by the paper application, and will miss what is really going on at the shelter every night. 

Brian defended the process pointing out that the County gave extra time and extended the contract for the existing contract in response to Homeless Congress concerns.  He also explained that this is the first time there has been more than one provider bidding since the 1990s. He explained that there cannot be homeless people or advocates on the committee, because one side or the other would claim that they are biased.  This is such a heated topic in the homeless community there is no one who is impartial. 

The Congress members then talked about their highest priority for 2017 which is getting a shelter for severely mentally ill opened to improve services to this fragile population.  He asked if some of the current or former residents will go to the ADAMHS Board meeting to talk about the problems with mentally ill residents being in the same shelter without services in place for them.  A few members agreed to attend.  Some members of the ADAMHS board do not agree that there should be a separate shelter for mentally ill people. 

Rosie, a member, said there is a new policy that police officers will handle crisis in a different way.  She gave some infomation on the Justice Department consent decree and the implementation of the way that police interact with mentally ill people.  She referred to the Tanesha Anderson case as an example of what needs changed.  She stated that an offender could be transported by ambulance if they are really uncomfortable about riding in a police car.  There was a invitation to the Hope for the Homeless Campaign meetings.  The members were informed that one of the objectives is to get religious leaders involved in addressing homelessness.  The second was that there is a new Director of Care Alliance and she will be invited to attend a meeting.

Bus passes were given out.  The next meeting is on March 9, 2017.

by Ramona Turnbull

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New Day and New Updates on Women's Shelter

There was a really nice piece about the Women's Shelter posted in the Scene Magazine today. This is the url if you need to cut and paste:   This story laid out all the issues facing the women everyday at this horribly administered shelter, but unfortunately made the point that most women do not trust the process.  They have been let down so much that they see no hope in there being a change. Change is always difficult and it takes a lot to take the risk on a change.  Scene sent a reporter to stay at the shelter overnight who was shocked by the conditions in the shelter, and was comforted by other residents.

We have heard from a number of people who say that we should sit back and be proud of what we have done to call attention to the problem or the minor adjustments that have taken place over the last year or the horrible staff who left the shelter or the hearing the County held last year.  This misses the point of our advocacy.  There are more women staying in the shelter every night compared to last year.  There is a feeling that the place is less safe with all the people, beds and nothing to do in the evening.  There is more depression and feeling of hopelessness.  So, at the end of the day, we have done nothing to help.   We have tried and spent countless hours trying to improve the shelter, but without much to show.  Things are worse for the women today and they are hoping and praying for a change. 

by Brian Davis

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Still Space to Sign Up for Civic Engagement

There is still space to sign up for this civic engagement session at the beautiful new Salvation Army facility.  NEOCH will be presenting about all of our work on voting in the last election.   Go to the Calendar Tab of the Literacy Cooperative website to sign up.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.