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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
Monday
May022016

Who You Gonna Call?

NEOCH is one of the last non-profits that actually has a human answering the phone as much as possible.  We get a ton of hangups, but we try to be available to answer questions in the community.  Since the shelters moved to a coordinated intake system even fewer places in the homeless social service system answer the phone.   We want to help, but for the most part there are only a few things we can help you with.

We do get some calls that are just people calling every single place possible hoping that they come across a guardian angel who will say, "We will give you rent to stay in your apartment come on down."  In Cleveland, this is as likely as calling around asking for a leprechaun to give up his pot of gold.  But most people are desperate for help so it is understandable.  Their world is collapsing around them and the phone is the only thing they have as a possible life saver. 

There is a trend among callers to say, "Hello, how are you doing?"  I know they are trying to be nice in the hopes that the person on the other line will offer the help they are looking for, but it is annoying.  They do not care how I am doing because I have said "terrible," or "rough" or any number of other responses and they just go forward and ignore your response.   Also, there are 23,000 homeless people, so we really don't have the time to chit chat about our issues.  We would prefer if you just ask the question so we can work on the 150 other things on our plate.   

Here are some reasons to call NEOCH (216/432-0540):

  1. If you see a homeless person that you are worried about and may need some outreach.  We will send an outreach staff person to come out to intervene. 
  2. If you are staying in a shelter or homeless service and need help filing a grievance or registering a complaint, give us a call. If you stay outside and feel you are being harassed or mistreated, please give us a call.
  3. If you are having any problems or have questions about voting for homeless people, give us a call.  If you need to know where to go to get mail or the address you should use as a homeless person to register to vote, call us.  If you are challenged at the polling place or get notification that your ballot may not count or were forced to vote by provisional ballot, give us a call. 
  4. If you work as an outreach worker and are calling for donated items, we love to hear from you.  Workers call for socks, tents, sleeping bags to see what is in stock. 
  5. Also, if you want to donate items to SocksPlus and need us to come downstairs to unload your car, feel free to call.
  6. If you have a public policy or advocacy issue that you want to talk to us about, we would love to hear from you.  If you want to ask why your family could stay together when they entered shelter or why do you have to give your social security number in order to get shelter, give us a call.
  7. If you want to volunteer for NEOCH, feel free to call and talk to Joyce.  If you want to volunteer with a direct service provider do not callGo to our website directly.
  8. If you want to sign up for one of our trainings or to get a login for the HousingCleveland website, feel free to call. 
  9. If you want to schedule a time for a formerly homeless individual to talk about their experience in moving out of homelessness with the Street Voices Program, please give Ken a call.
  10. The only job that we have is to sell the Street Newspaper.  Feel free to call Ken to set up a training in order to sell the paper. 

 Here are some areas that you might want to just go to our website and avoid calling.

  1. If you need a one page guide to local homeless services called the Street Card just go here to the website to print one out.  There is a vet street card, a family street card and even an easy to print card. 
  2. If you are confused about how to get into shelter in Cleveland and just need someone to explain it to you, here is a web page just for that purpose.  Or you can click the "Find Help" Button on the top of each page of the NEOCH Website. 
  3. If you want to find an old story from the Grapevine or the Chronicle, many but not all are on our website. 
  4. If you want to volunteer, it is probably easiest to go to our website to narrow down the choices.
  5. If you have questions about statistics and research, it is way easier to look at those on our website. 
  6. If you want to find available housing, it is best to look at Housing Cleveland.org for the 700 units that are available right now. 
  7. If you need a lawyer, we only have legal clinics out in the shelters.  You cannot call to get legal help anywhere.

These are reasons NOT to call NEOCH because we cannot help you!!!

  1. If you want to get in shelter, don't call!!!  Just go to 1736 Superior 2nd Floor.  There is no reason to call anyone, we cannot provide any information on the phone.  Every bed is assigned by Coordinated Intake on Superior and they cannot do that on the phone.
  2. If you need a referral to a social service provider or telephone number call 2-1-1 and not NEOCH.  We cannot help with this. 
  3. If you want rental assistance, we cannot help.  There are 55,000 people locally who need this kind of help, so you have a lot of people ahead of you. 
  4. If you need help to prevent an eviction call the Cleveland Tenants Organization, but please do not call NEOCH. 
  5. If you need help relocating to another community, please do not call NEOCH.  We do not want to see any more of a loss in the local population.  
  6. We do not have any jobs available except for the Street Newspaper.  No reason to call us.
  7. We do not give out donations directly from our office.  You have to get those from the outreach staff.  No reason to call NEOCH looking for donations. 
  8. We know that bus tickets are like gold in the homeless community.  There is no reason to call NEOCH or anywhere for a bus ticket--Gold is rarely given over the phone to a stranger.  Transportation is very expensive for low income and homeless people locally, we know that and you don't need to call us to remind us of this. 
  9. If you need utility assistance, don't call NEOCH.  There is a HEAP number to get an appointment and you can get that at 2-1-1. 

Wish that we could help more or that the County redesigned the Jobs and Family Services sites to be the one stop center for everyone struggling in the community.  This could increase confidence in government or show people that government can help.  We are at an all time low in confidence in government and this could help.  

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Saturday
Apr302016

Girl Scouts Collect Socks

Westlake schools and community leaders gave a wonderful evening to celebrate all the good work of the many scouts in the community.  There were some elaborate projects to build libraries for fragile populations and programs to help seniors.  We attended the event because one Girl Scout troop collected socks as part of the SocksPlus program under the Community West Foundation umbrella.  Here are some pictures courtesy of the Foundation.

Here is Denise unloading the items from the Girl Scouts.  We thank them for all their hard work.

 

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Friday
Apr292016

Women's Shelter Hearing at Cuyahoga County

Press Release

Wednesday May 4 at 1 p.m. at the County Council Meeting space at 2079 East 9th St. on the Fourth Floor members of the Council will get to hear directly from the residents of the shelter about the conditions at the Payne Ave. shelter.  

            Every month the residents of the shelter meet to discuss issues facing homeless people in Cleveland and for years the horrible state of the Women’s Shelter has dominated the discussion.  Even the men living at other shelters are concerned because often they have a wife or girlfriend at the Payne Ave. Community Women’s Shelter.  We have closed many of the other family/women’s shelters so that the “House of Payne” as the women call it, is the last facility with a bed available in the community.  This is the facility that women without children fleeing an abuser have to go to or grandmothers who are evicted must enter when they have a housing emergency.  After a couple of years of discussions with individual County Council members, the County intends to open their Health and Human Services committee on Wednesday at 1 p.m. to a discussion with residents about the Community Women’s Shelter. 

            The County Council Health and Human Services Hearing will hear directly from residents of the shelter about the conditions and the staff mistreatment.  The Coalition has put together a 12 point plan to reform the shelter, but is most concerned that the administration has very little control over the shelter staff.  Residents will talk about the unfair discharge policy and the broken grievance system.  They will talk about problems with the food, renovations, and the lack of housing or social service help.  Residents have prepared short two minute speeches about the problems at the shelter including the regular threats and harassment by the staff.  Despite armed security, there is regular concern with security, fights and theft at the shelter while staff just sit in their offices and allow chaos to reign.  The women who speak will need to overcome the fear of retaliation to talk about the regular changes in the rules and the total lack of structure keeping the women in a constant state of confusion.

       NEOCH and the women hope that the County forces immediate changes in the shelter.  We hope that they schedule unannounced visits in the evening to see the overcrowded space and the horrible conditions these women are forced to endure.   The women want a committee set up to implement their long term solutions to the problems and some County oversight to make sure that the Women’s shelter is implementing the recommendations.  The Homeless Coalition set up a webpage dedicated to all the problems at the “House of Payne” under Solutions at www.neoch.org. for more information. 

Brian Davis

Posts Reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Apr192016

Cleveland Women's Shelter Hearing May 4

Thanks to Council President Dan Brady for organizing this discussion.  We hope that when the County Council hears of the problems at the shelter they will force some reform.   We have some immediate actions that could be taken to improve the living conditions and some long term solutions.  I think that we need to open some smaller facilities to serve the unique needs of the women (Re-Entry, Mentally Ill, Addicted, Moms who need to re-unite with their kids, and older women).  But there are huge problems at the shelter only complicated by the current renovations taking place.  In my opinion, the staff are out of control and poorly trained.  They have made the facility into a toxic environment without a proper grievance procedure or a way to respond to problems.  I think that we need to bring in a new provider who has more experience with running a shelter, but that is not the opinion of the Homeless Congress yet.  The hearing is open to the public.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Apr152016

Transformational Art Back at Cosgrove Center

The Cosgrove Center is quickly becoming the center of the homeless universe in Cleveland.  They have a 20 year old drop in/meal program that is used by 200 people a day on average.  Then Coordinated Intake moved onto the second floor of the Center and you have to go to those offices in order to get shelter in Cleveland.  Now, the third floor has the Frontline Veteran's services and a new art center run by staff at the Cosgrove Center (pictured above).  Residents of the shelter can do art therapy and just work out the creative side of their brains.  They are working on a computer lab for the future, and have a weekly clothing distribution program.  You can get mail at Cosgrove and there is a monthly attorney available.  A homeless person can get ID assistance and can meet with a health care professional or someone from the Veteran's Administration.  If you are homeless in Cleveland, you can go to 1736 Superior Ave. in Cleveland.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign