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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.

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Friday
Apr112014

New Housing 101 Workshop Announced

NEOCH introduces another Housing 101 workshop for social service providers in the community.  This new workshop will be Friday June 13 at 10 a.m. at NEOCH.  We will only have space for 40 people to attend, so you will have to get your reservation in quickly.  We have a flyer and a webpage dedicated to the Housing 101 here.  The workshop will give housing case managers information about HousingCleveland.org, and the new process for getting shelter in Cuyahoga County.  There is a presentation about landlord tenant issues from the Cleveland Tenants Organization and one from staff from the Dept. of Veteran's Affairs regarding housing and homeless issues for those who served their country.  Finally, we are glad to report that the Housing Center will participate again to give an overview of the Fair Housing Act and how a person searching for housing can protect their rights.

The ADAMHS board offers 3 CEUs for social workers.  If you need the CEUs the workshop costs $15 and if you do not it is $10.  You get a pretty nice packet of information and light refreshments as part of the workshop.  Send in your payment today to reserve your spot.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Apr102014

Care Alliance Annual Meeting

Care Alliance is hosting their annual meeting in two weeks.  They are giving an award to Brian Davis at NEOCH, and you are welcome to join them at this event.  Please contact them if you are interested in attending.  

Brian Davis

Friday
Apr042014

HUD Rejects Our Complaint About Coordinated Intake

In April 2013, the County decided that anyone who does not go to the Coordinated Intake first would not be considered homeless and therefore not have access to the rest of the services in the community.  For men, you have to go to 2100 Lakeside shelter first before going to any other facility in the community for assistance with your homelessness.  Women and women with children must start their journey at the Norma Herr Center at 2227 Payne Ave.  If they go to one of the privately funded shelters in the community before going to Coordinated Intake, they lose their ability to access rental assistance, transitional housing or any other publicly funded homeless service.   So, if a woman goes to Laura's Home because she needs a place for her kids for the night and stays there for a month then she tries to get in something more stable the family would be told that they are not homeless and therefore do not have access to a transitional shelter or rental assistance.

We complained and the Homeless Congress complained to the County about this rule as being unfair because these women did not know the rules when they came to the shelter.  There should be a grandfathering of all the women who were in the shelter before the policy went into place at a minimum.   We also felt the policy is a direct attack on religiously based shelters that do not rely on taxpayers for support.  Why should a shelter that receives no public money force their clients to go to the County Coordinated intake first?  Why should these private religiously based shelters be forced to take women from the County intake system who may not be a good match for their facility?  If a Christian based shelter is paying the full price of the shelter, food and clothing, should they be forced to serve an unmarried couple or a woman who may need health or mental health assistance that the staff are not trained to offer?  There is no public money going to Laura's Home and they want the ability to serve the clients that would fit with the religious teachings that are part of the daily activity of the shelter.   It does not seem fair that if the women is living in a privately funded shelter, she should lose access to publicly funded services.  She paid her taxes and just because she did not know the rules of being homeless in Cleveland her family will have to spend extra time homeless. 

The County Council backed the County staff decision to exclude residents of Laura's Home, City Mission, St. Herman's and Maggie's Place from receiving publicly funded services and blamed the HUD policy for this decision. We wrote about this in our member section of the website (must login). Here is the response from the County (again in the member section of the website).  NEOCH then went to HUD to complain about this policy.  All we got back was this:

Outcome/Conclusion:   The Cuyahoga County CoC [Continuum of Care=federal funding grant recipient] coordinated assessment and central intake process is compliant to the requirements at 24 CFR 578.7 of the CoC Program interim rule.   Regarding the 3 women, the continuum’s action is substantiated by their central intake process.  

Please let me know if you have any additional questions or if I can be of assistance in the future.

Sincerely,

Tonya Proctor   

This is not going to go over well with conservative Congress members who often have strong support from religious organizations.   HUD is allowing this split between private shelters and publicly funded shelters at a time in which the federal government is cutting shelter funding.  They are allowing the County to treat those who go to privately funded shelters as second class citizens who are not entitled to the same tax supported services as the rest of the tax payers.  The City Mission has been a part of the homeless system in Cleveland for over 100 years.  I do not understand why County officials want to alienate the Mission?  They have been a part of our response locally whenever the shelters are full by providing overflow space.  They have offered shelters and transitional space for years, and now their clients are being scolded for going to the mission before Coordinated intake.  Even staying one night at Laura's Home before going to Coordinated Intake, they lose their status as a homeless person.  This is a horrible policy and County officials need to rethink this mistreatment of residents who are just trying to find a warm place to lay their head after being kicked out of their housing. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those and only those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Apr032014

Met with Cleveland Police Regarding the Attacks on the Camps

We had a meeting with many outreach workers and volunteers along with some of the victims of the fires down in the Flats and the Cleveland Police Department.  The new Commander of the Second District Thomas Stacho and Officer Petcak from the Downtown unit attended the meeting to hear our concerns that someone was targeting homeless people by burning down their campsites.  We heard of three active sites that were destroyed and a couple of abandoned camps.  This started the weekend of March 21 and continued last Friday March 28.   On Friday evening between 4 pm to 5 p.m.  there were a series of fires at the camps while they were away getting food.  Then when the residents went inside to get out of the cold in the middle of the night the criminals came back and torched more camps. 

NEOCH and other outreach teams are concerned that this is a hate crime, and will only get worse with more people living outside over the summer.  The Police assured us that they would follow up and would investigate these concerns.  They were going to talk to some of the business owners in the area, construction workers, and the Fire Department that responded. They were going to report back to us after interviewing some of the spectators down there and a few people identified by the victims as suspicious as well as others who go down along the river.  

The stroller lady was scared and reported all her losses including the death of one of her cats.  She was angry about many past beefs with many different people in the community.  She gets picked on so much it is hard to get her to focus on this attack and not the previous threats against her camp.  She was also frustrated that no one takes her complaints seriously for the last five years including the police.   Rick has relocated and is keeping his new location quiet.  He talked about the library books, clothing, sleeping bags and food that he lost.  He was stoic but said he did not understand these attacks.  Rick stays away from most people and does not bother anyone.  He interacts with the volunteers from Labre, but otherwise stays by himself.  He had no theories for who could have done this, because there was no threats or warning.  Rick did say that someone had stolen from him and had messed up his camp two weeks ago, but was not sure if this was related. 

The outreach teams will increase interaction with the people staying outside.  We have asked the residents to set up a "neighborhood watch" type program.  The police agreed to keep an eye out during their patrols.   We hope that they are able to find these domestic terrorists who burnt down these campsites and intentially destroyed the tents and all their possessions of these people who largely try to avoid the spotlight.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Thursday
Apr032014

Candidate Night for County Executive

Lutheran Metro Ministry and Organize!Ohio along with 30 social service and social justice groups are co-hosting a candidate night next week for those running in the primary for Cuyahoga County Executive.  The forum is Thursday April 10 at 6 p.m. at 4515 Superior Ave.  (parking is across the street or on the side streets).  The focus will be on health and human services, housing and other critical needs in the community.  We submitted a couple of questions for the forum.  Nearly all the candidates have confirmed for this event.  Hope that you can make it as you make this important decision to cast a vote in the May 6 primary election.

Brian Davis