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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.

Homeless Voting
Saturday
Jul302016

Infrastructure Problems at NEOCH Office

A transformer blew outside our office and knocked out the electricity on Friday.  We still do not have phone, internet, air conditioning, elevator and access to the server yet.  We hope to be back to fully restored on Monday.  Brings up the need to invest in aging infrastructure in the United States. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Jul292016

Outreach Training for Homeless & Religious Groups

The Community West Foundation funded NEOCH to provide increased training to outreach teams both volunteer programs as well as the full time homeless social service providers.  The second Teach In for the group is September 1 at 5:30 p.m. and will be provided by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank locally.  This is the premiere food program in the United States, and they will provide public policy updates, safe preparation of food, and some of the benefit programs available through the Food Bank.  We need you to RSVP in order to secure your slot since we have a limited space.   We will post a copy of the flyer in the near future. 

Thursday
Jul282016

Who Should Represent Homeless People?

This is an inside baseball post and may be way too far into the weeds for most people, but we did advertise back in June for homeless people to apply for the Office of Homeless of Services Advisory Board so we should provide an update.  The County Office of Homeless Services approves the $30 million that comes to Cleveland for the shelters and the housing for homeless people.  They recently changed their bylaws and the composition of their membership.  They tried to reduce the people sitting on the board with a conflict of interest and added four positions for homeless people.  This was a much needed reform, but the big problem with this group is there is never an alternative or an ability to tweak the proposals up for a vote.  The voting process is all or nothing.  They give the voting members an up or down vote on everything. For example either vote "yes" to accept the $30 million or vote "no" and all the shelters close?  We faced the same choice with the vote over new members.  We were offered a vote on a slate of candidates of 15 total while 31 individuals had applied.  It was yes to all 15 candidates selected by some committee or no and there is no board, I guess? All of our expertise and knowledge are disrespected when we are a rubber stamp for staff or an unelected committee. 

All the votes are pro forma with the work done in committee or by staff and the board in a similar manner to the old County Commissioners who were just rubber stamps for a bunch of insiders and patrons.  NEOCH advertised the fact that there were four slots open to homeless or formerly homeless on the advisory board from the two who were currently on the board, and homeless people responded.  Fourteen people applied with 7 currently living in the shelters.  One person stands out for his nerve to take one of these slots.  Keith Moody applied for one of the four homeless slots.  He is staff of the Veterans Administration and has been staff for at least 17 years or more.  He also has a board membership of one of the local shelters.  He had been sitting on the board for years as a "homeless advocate" and so he has gotten to know the other board members, but he has not been homeless for over 20 years. 

The Board members did not get to see the applications or even the reason why the committee selected the candidates for developing this slate.  In fact, the paperwork distributed to the board for a vote gave no biographical information for any of the candidates and did not even list where these indivduals worked.  It was a "trust us" vote.  The committee did all the work for us so we didn't have to worry our pretty little heads about the details.  Full disclosure NEOCH fought to maintain one appointment to the OHS advisory that does not need the full vote of the advisory just like the City, County, and Housing Authority.  When the advisory was chartered by the City and County in 1993, NEOCH had three appointment positions. 

Moody rarely interacts with homeless people except as their case worker.  He does not know anything about sleeping in the shelters. He does not attend the Homeless Congress meetings and does not listen to the issues facing people struggling with housing.  There were plenty of other choices, but the committee was familiar with Keith Moody so they selected him for one of the precious homeless slots.   I don't understand why the Veterans Administration allows a staff person to take a homeless position on the Advisory when they have their own position and that staff is certainly not homeless. 

Moody does not understand the challenges facing women in shelter with the closing down of so many shelter beds or the waiting list for families to get assistance because he rarely communicates with these individuals.   He does not understand the lack of fair housing rights enforcement in the shelters or the fact that the grievance process is broken in Cuyahoga County.    Keith is a personable guy who gets along with most of the board so it would be tough to tell him that he is no longer welcome as a voting member.  This is why Moody should have never applied as a formerly homeless person and put these overly nice committee members in this difficult position. 

We had a board member who applied and was homeless five years ago.  He decided that it was too long ago to use his homeless status in the application.  He applied for one of the open slots as a community member.  Since many of the committee did not know who he was, he was not selected.  While Moody used his long ago status as a homeless person to nudge out the other 16 people who applied and were denied a spot on the board.  We hope that the group tightens up the application process and the qualifications for membership to assure that this valuable slot is reserved for individuals who have some recent contact with people experiencing homelessness.

Brian Davis

By the way the picture is of Loh with those bizarre snails downtown.  Loh received a slot on the OHS Advisory. 

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Jul262016

EDEN Inc has Upcoming Landlord Forums 

Monday
Jul252016

A Way Home for Homeless Youth in America

We are excited to share with you today's announcement that Cleveland/Cuyahoga County has been selected as one of three communities across the country to launch a 100-Day Challenge to end youth homelessness. The announcement was made by A Way Home America, a national initiative to build momentum toward preventing and ending homelessness among young people.

100-Day Challenges in Cuyahoga County, Austin and Los Angeles will foster ambitious and innovative approaches to support youth facing homelessness. Each community will be supported in the journey by the Rapid Results Institute, a non-profit organization that works with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and communities to rapidly innovate and test new approaches.

The Cuyahoga County 100-Day Challenge will be led and facilitated by A Place 4 Me - an initiative that works to ensure every young person in our community has a safe and stable place to call home. The challenge will build on our community's coordinated strategic plan to prevent and end youth homelessness and will focus on developing and implementing partnerships to support the housing stability of youth transitioning from the foster care system.

As a key community stakeholder, here's what we want you to know:

  • A 10 to 12 member community team will be assembled to set an ambitious 100 Day goal to be pursued through intensive collaboration and innovation, with technical assistance by the Rapid Results Institute.
  • The 100-Day Challenge will kick off at a Launch Workshop in Austin on September 7th and 8th.
  • The first day of the 100-Day Challenge will be September 9th.
  • You can expect regular - at least monthly - updates on the progress of the 100-Day Challenge and opportunities for your participation.
  • Learning from each community to inform national dialogue and policy to end youth homelessness is a critical component of the 100-Day Challenge. If you are interested, you can sign up to follow the three communities' 100-Day journeys at  www.awayhomeamerica.org.
  • There will be a mid-point review at around Day 50 of the journey.
  • The 100-Day Challenge will wrap up in mid-December with a sustainability review.
  • Our community will celebrate our successes and lessons learned at a stakeholder convening on youth homelessness in January 2017.

We look forward to learning alongside our colleagues in Austin and Los Angeles and with each of you to demonstrate promising approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Most especially, we are grateful for your partnership as we work toward our shared vision of a community where all young people have a safe and stable place to call home.

Please be in touch with your thoughts and feedback:

Kate Lodge, project director, A Place for Me at the YWCA

Angela D'Orazio, program officer, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland

About A Place 4 Me (Cleveland/Cuyahoga County)

A Place 4 Me is a cross-sector initiative that harnesses the strengths and resources of its partners to prevent and end homelessness among young adults age 15 to 24 in Cleveland/Cuyahoga County. A Place 4 Me is a collaboration of the YWCA Greater Cleveland; Cuyahoga County Department of Health and Human Services, including the Division of Children and Family Services and the Office of Homeless Services; FrontLine Service; the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative of the Annie E. Casey Foundation; and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.

From Press Announcement issued by the Sisters of Charity Foundation