Find Help

Follow us on Twitter
Donate to NEOCH

About NEOCH

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.

Tuesday
Jul142015

Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List Will Open 

Special Edition To Announce the Opening of the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Waiting List August 3 to August 7

  • Waiting List will only be available from Midnight on Monday August 3 to Midnight on Friday August 7.  It will only be available electronically for online submissions, and once it is closed it will not be open again until 2019 at the earliest.  The last time the waiting list was opened was 2011.
  • You should have everyone currently homeless or nearing homelessness complete the application.  If they are not eligible they can sort that out if their number is called or they can decline the offer if they have found stable housing.
  • The website for applications will be http://applycuyahogacounty.tenmast.com, but will only be available for those five days.
  • For the elderly and disabled there is a telephone number to call to complete the application then the individual will be e-mailed or mailed a confirmation number. The application call center will be open from 8 am to 8 p.m.  from 8/3/2015 to 8/7
  • All the libraries and computer centers will be available to help people with the application.  It typically takes 5 minutes to complete the application with just basic information (for single individuals). It takes longer to add all the other members of a household.  All those in the household must be included (grandmother, children, etc.).
  • Duplicates will be discarded, but every adult can complete an application to get in the lottery even if that adult is a member another household.  A couple should each complete an application to better their chances.  If a parent (grandmother) is a member of a household they should complete an application as head of the household as well just to better their chances. Mom, Dad, Grandmother, 18 year old son and two minor children are a household, they should complete four applications with each adult as head of household but every application should include the other members of the family listed.
  • There is a Spanish and English version on the site and the call center has Spanish speakers as well.
  • 10,000 names will be drawn and then sorted from first to last by computer.  Those at the front of the waiting list will be selected first and the top 600 will be offered a housing voucher this year.  All the numbers of the winners will be selected by September 15, 2015.  It does not matter when you submit your application
  • Successful application will produce a confirmation number and that number will be the one posted so that individuals can see if they won the lottery and made the waiting list.  An individual can enter a couple of unique identifying pieces of information to retrieve their confirmation number if they lose it.
  • An individual can be on the Public Housing Waiting list, can be a tenant of CMHA or any other subsidized program (EDEN, Project based housing, etc) and apply for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
  • NEOCH staff will be available from 9 to 5 every day that week to help people complete their application.  You can send people to NEOCH and we will make sure that they get their application filed and we will give them their confirmation number.
  • If your number is selected and you make it to the top of the waiting list, they will call you in for an interview at which time they will do the income verification and ask all the eligibility questions.  That could be in December 2015 or March of 2019, so it does not hurt to apply now. 
  • Winners of the lottery will have their numbers displayed on posters and on the website.  Then when you reach the top of the waiting list you will be asked to come to CMHA for an interview and verification.  You must keep in contact with CMHA if your number is selected.  They will communicate only by US Mail and will try twice to reach you.  If they are unsuccessful, they will go to the next person.  You can change your address by calling, visiting CMHA on Kinsman or registering on their website at www.cmha.net.
  • If you want to volunteer to help people complete their application for housing contact NEOCH at 216/432-0540 or e-mail advocacy (at) neoch (dot) org. 
Friday
Jul102015

Homeless Congress Members Working to Improve Women's Shelter

 How the Homeless Congress is trying to Improve the Community Women’s Shelter

  • NEOCH and Homeless Congress members filed 43 complaints over a one week period. We sent copies to the Cleveland Mediation Center and County Public Policy Committee.  The shelter gave a two sentence response to most of the complaints even those that were very long (3 pages).  Some complaints were never answered, and two women appealed but only one woman has been able to pursue her appeal. No one from the County or the Public Policy Committee asked to follow up on the grievances.
  • One vocal advocate living at the Women’s Shelter gave copies to the County Council and ADAMHS Board (both funders of the shelter).
  • This same vocal advocate and resident of the shelter regularly attends both Council and ADAMHS Board meetings and regularly provides public comment about the need for governmnet oversight.
  • Invited County Councilwoman, Yvonne Conwell, to the May 2015 Homeless Congress to hear complaints.  She attended and said that she would take the information back to her colleagues and ask Pernell Jones Jr to host Congress members at a hearing.  Never heard back.
  • Invited every County Council person to either attend one of the Congress meetings or ask that a couple of members of Congress to meet at their office.  Have not heard back from most of them.
  • There were a number of stories about the Women’s Shelter published in the Cleveland Street Chronicle newspaper this last month.
  • Invited CEO of the Alcohol and Drug Addictions and Mental Health Services Board to the June 2015 Homeless Congress.  He attended and promised to have a discussion with their board about a separate shelter for severely mentally ill and to join the women for dinner (unannounced) at the Women’s Shelter to see how things are going.  He is going in for back surgery so has not been able to do these activities.  We will continue to follow up.
  • The CEO of Frontline (Susan Neth) attended the last Office of Homeless Services County meeting on 7/8 and said that they are aware of the issues and in response they have done the following:
  1. Cleveland Mediation Center is facilitating “Listening Circles” and then bringing the information collected to the shelter directors.
  2. Moved the suggestion box to a more secure location out of the hands of on-site staff.
  3. CMC is providing customer service training to the staff.
  4. EDEN (owner of the building) has been made aware of the facility problems and is working on raising the money for making improvements.
  5. There are on-going discussions and she will update the group about progress.
  • This female advocate and resident of the shelter has asked for some improvements to the shelter as part of her grievance appeal and she gave those in writing to the shelter staff in June. There will be a follow up meeting later this month to discuss these.  Her suggestions were:
  1. She identified problems with staff and gave praise to another group of staff.
  2. She wants a better process to protect people’s safety.
  3. More cameras and use of that video to determine if staff are acting professionally.
  4. Assignment of a client rights officer to be able to gather video and release it to City Prosecutor if there is violence so that residents can file orders of protection.
  5. Specific rules for volunteering at the shelter and no punishments for those who volunteer and keep the shelter clean or save the shelter money.
  6. Residents of the shelter should elect two other residents to sit in on complaints about staff to represent the interest of the residents.  There should also be feedback to the residents that a complaint was heard and action was taken so it is worth completing a grievance.
  7. An independent resident council should be established that will not lead to retaliation or favoritism of residents that attend the meeting and will have written notes with a response from the shelter.
  8. If complaints are filed regarding staff behavior the residents should know that the shelter senior staff responded and an action (not specific) was taken.
  9. Senior staff should host a meeting of the residents at 1744 Payne to hear all the client grievances specific to staff without fear of retaliation.
  10. The grievance procedure needs to be changed to be more timely, transparent, and should have some results that make it worth completing a complaint.
  11. The shelter does not seem to be following the 2014 grievance procedure that the County mandated especially with regard to discharges.  That needs to be corrected.

We are working regularly on the issue, but have all this activity made any improvements in the shelter?  Many of the residents expressed concern that the shelter has not made many changes at the July Homeless Congress meeting since they started putting pressure in March of 2015. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

 

Friday
Jul102015

How to Make the Grocery Bag Sleeping Mats

Grocery Bag Sleeping Mat

Dimensions: 32-36 inches by 72 inches

Material

  • 10mm crotchet hook (P Size), or larger
  • Scissors
  • 500-700 Grocery bags
  • 4 Hefty refuse liner black bags, 45 gal. size

Directions

  1. Cut off handles and holding tabs of grocery bag
  2. Cut off the bottom seam
  • You are now left with a square
  1. Cut from side-to-side into 4 equal parts
  2. Take 2 Loop circular pieces and knot them together to create your plastic yarn
  3. Continue knotting rest of the pieces together
  4. Crotchet your plastic yarn into a mat

Notes:

  • Make sure loops are even
  • One single crotchet stitch
  • Crotchet in the back loop of the stitch when you turn over. It makes them a little more comfortable I think. It gives them that ridge which might keep out the dampness better.
  • Not all 500-700 bags need to be cut at one time, it can be done in sections.  Cutting the bags takes the most time, and can be done as a team.

Follow up Videos can be found here:

 For Questions call NEOCH at 216/432-0540 or leave a comment below this listing

by Dan the Intern

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Jul102015

Homeless People in the National News

Homelessness in the News

When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, he will meet with people who are homeless, immigrants, and the incarcerated.  This is very noble, but, as Lewis Diuguid points out, the visits should be impromptu to avoid politicians from scripting these meetings.

Community policing in Cincinnati is one of the best in the country, but Cleveland’s police do not know where to start when it comes to working with the community.  Upcoming reforms will hopefully see the police making a positive difference in communities.

What community benefit comes from jailing a homeless person, who is obviously not in the right state of mind?  Nothing.  A person consistently, and incoherently calling 911 needs help getting a stable place to live, not prison time. 

If cities want to end homelessness and improve the conditions of shelters, maybe it is time to start adequately funding the services needed to get homeless people off the street.  After the murder of a shelter director by a former client, shelters in New York City are working to improve safety for the staff.  

Student at Chicago Portfolio School has begun designing new signs for homeless.  These new signs, drawn with an artistic touch, are meant to draw people to have an actual conversation with these people and create awareness.  Sometimes it is just small gestures that make a big difference.

Los Angeles City Council legislation would make something as small as putting a bag on the ground a cause for action by police.  LA civil rights activists urge the mayor to veto this legislation.  Criminalizing homelessness does not see the results it expects to see, but hinders the possibility of ending homelessness. 

Rapid Rehousing has been touted as a cure-all for homelessness, but for many, particularly families, it is not enough.  These families are cut off way before they are able to sustain themselves.  This report looks at the limitations or the Rapid Rehousing movement highlighted by a new HUD report.

New Orleans plans to build $7 million dollar centralized homeless shelter with less restriction. However, it faces opposition from business owners, who rely on myths about the homeless community. 

Since Obama began a push to end veteran homelessness in 2010, many cities and counties have essentially eliminated homelessness.  Now, will we see as much success ending chronic, youth, and family homelessness? Cuyahoga County will be declaring a "functional end" to veteran's homelessness on Veterans Day 2015.

A minister in Nashville, Tennessee is raising money to build micro-homes for the homeless. 

Repurposed military base becomes a recovery center for  addicted homeless people.  This shelter is different from many by allowing the residents to run the shelter, while also providing meaningful things to do during the day, such as online classes.

by Dan the Intern

Opinions represent the opinions of those who sign the entry.

Wednesday
Jul012015

New Ohio Rankings on Website

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has some new information on our website.  This could be helpful for your senior high school reports or college essays about homelessness.  Some very interesting statistics on Ohio and how it ranks in several different areas compared to the other states.  It’s a report card that shows the weaknesses and strengths on some crucial subjects that make a difference for those who live in Ohio.

How much do you know about Ohio?  You will be surprised at some of the statistics an intern named Megan at NEOCH found out about Ohio and compiled so we can quickly see where Ohio ranks next to the other states in categories like Housing, Population and Demographics, Homelessness and Poverty, Economics, Health and Welfare and Crime. 

How many percent of registered voters actually turned out to vote in Ohio?  Where does Ohio rank among 50 states in reducing homelessness?  Is Ohio’s rate of population growth closer to the top or bottom of the scale when compared to 50 other states?  Which state has the highest poverty rate in the nation and how close is Ohio to it?  Where did Ohio rank in its number of murders, robberies and rapes?  Is it possible that Ohio is 7th from the worst state in any of those three violent crime categories? All of these stats are found on our site with an easy to read graphically enhanced webpage.   We encourage you to check out our new section and read some statistics that paint a graphic picture of Ohio and it’s standing amongst the states.  

The site evaluates the state’s performance and growth by showing how Ohio stacks up against its peers.  It even shows the quality of life and life expectancy for the state for the nearly 12 million residents of Ohio.  How long can you expect to live when you reside in the state of Ohio? Check out these very informative statistics to find out.  It’s a very eye opening picture of the state of Ohio and where it falls in categories that are compared across the board for every state in the union.

by Denise Toth

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry