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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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Judge Marbley Decision Posted on our Website

Back at the beginning of August, Federal Judge Alegenon Marbley decided in our favor to extend the agreement between NEOCH and the State of Ohio until 2016.   This will standardize how provisional ballots are counted and will assist homeless people to vote in the upcoming Presidential election in person on Election Day.  We posted the entire decision here.  It is good reading because Judge Marbley has some wonderful language defending his decision.  

"This Court hopes that Ohio's boards of election would continue to implement Ohio's voting laws with the same uniformity that they have since the entry of the Consent Decree.  Asis from the Consent Decree, however, there is nothing to prevent boards of election from returning to those haphazard and, in some cases, illegal practices, which previously resulted in the invalidation of validly cast ballots from registered voters."

This goes through a nice history of the case leading up to the need for this agreement.  It details the struggles by two previous Secretaries of State to implement this poorly written law from the lame duck session of 2005.  The decision does a really nice job thinking through possible challenges to the ruling to extend the agreement through 2016.  It was also nice to see that he had a nice grasp of all the facts of the case and how this decision played out on the streets of Ohio. 

"A citizen's right to vote, however, cannot be at the mercy of the shifting legal interpretations of a single state officer, no matter how well intentioned he or she is.  The Secretary of State changes frequently and while the current Secretary may continue to instruct boards of election to count the ballots of Social Security Number last 4 digit voters, there is no guarantee his successor will follow suit.   The Court also observes that, on more than one occasion, Secretary Husted has attempted to make eleventh hour changes to Ohio's voting system."

Check out the full decision on our website.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


NEOCH Endorses Health and Human Services Levy

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board of Trustees debated the merits of the replacement human services levy on the November ballot and decided to support Issue 1.  For those who do not know, the County has placed a replacement levy on the ballot for November 5 to support Health and Human Services locally.  This is the first time there will be a vote in an odd year when there are typically only local municipal issues on the ballot.  This became necessary because of huge cuts in the last two budgets from the State of Ohio to local governments and the hostility toward expanding Medicaid to serve our population.  

This levy will replace the levy that was set to expire at the end of 2014, and will increase the property taxes for residents.  This is repugnant that homeowners in Ohio must continually increase their own local taxes to pay for schools and human services because state leaders have abandoned their responsibilities.   The State of Ohio does not help with funding the shelters taking a back seat to the local and federal governments.  They continue to reduce support for alcohol and drug services.  They do not adequately support public transportation.  They have never brought justice to the funding of public schools and now are supporting a failing charter school system.   The state does very little to assist with the affordable housing crisis and did nearly nothing when faced with a quadrupling of foreclosures in the State.   They have not stepped forward to provide health care to every citizen in Ohio and only care about lowering taxes.  They seem feckless in the face of job stagnation, growing family homelessness, and a mental health crisis.  In an environment in which they close their eyes at the state level to everything but lowering taxes, it destabilizes the local community.  We are forced to continue to find revenue sources for these services that should be covered by the State of Ohio.

We urge a yes vote on Issue 1 and urge State legislators to take responsibility for some of these issues such as poverty, universal health care (including behavioral health), school funding, and expanding affordable housing.   With nearly one third of the poor people in Ohio living in Cuyahoga County, we cannot solve these big issues alone.  We need Medina, Geauga, Hamilton and Butler county resources to stabilize the housing situation, expand job opportunities with large scale infrastructure projects, universal access to pre-k school, and real preventative behavioral health care.  Without a state government willing to role up their sleeves and solve problems, we are stuck trying to cobble together levies and tax schemes to keep what we have going.  We do not want to shut down the shelters next year (already with federal cut backs, we will not be able to fund two projects).  We do not want to reduce access to detox or street outreach for the mentally ill. We do not want more addicts ending up in jail or more women seeking shelter in the house of a serial killer.   NEOCH urges a yes vote on Issue 1 the expanded Health and Human Services Levy to keep our current safety net. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


School Contacts Updated

It is state and federal law that every school district assign one staff person to interact with children and young people struggling with their housing.  These homeless liaisons will help to keep a child from having their school disrupted if their family losing their housing during the school year.  They will find the best placement for the child either in their school of origin or in a new school if there are domestic violence issues.  These liaisons will make every effort to provide transportation and a safe return to school as soon as possible for the child. 

Every year we update the contact sheet so that families will know who they can go to in order to get help.   We have posted the updated contacts for this school year under our "Find Help" section.  These liaisons can help with transportation, uniforms, tutors, or other materials to help with a return to school.  The goal is to keep the student from falling behind in their classes.  So even if their home life is disrupted the liaisons can help to make sure that the student's academic life does not spiral out of control.  If your familiy is struggling with housing in Cuyahoga County contact the liaison for your children's school district  to see if they can help.  Feel free to contact us if you have questions about the McKinney law or the obligations for a school district to not disrupt a child's education.  By the way, the charter schools also must assign a homeless liaison to help, but there are too many for us to track.  Contact the principal for the charter school to find out the name of the homeless liaison.  

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry. 


New Facebook Page for the Hand Up Gala

As we prepare for the upcoming fund raiser, the Hand Up Gala, we have created a Facebook page just for the event.  Thanks to our friend Kim, we have a page dedicated to this unique event.  We are sending out the invitations this week to previous supporters of the event.  We will send out another mailing next week to some of our friends in the community.  In case you have not seen, the Hand Up Gala is a fine dining meal we serve to homeless and hungry in Cleveland as an alternative to the silent auction dinners we had in the past.  We had some nice events for our members in the past at Massimos, and a couple of homeless people would get to enjoy the evening.  We decided for all the staff and volunteer time, we should design an event in which our most important constituents (the people we serve) can have a special time.  Three years ago, we partnered with the Cosgrove Center to host a day for homeless people to enjoy music, table cloths, floral arrangements and a wonderful meal.  Besides who wants to listen to a couple of boring speeches, get dressed up to spend some money at a silent auction? 

You can support this amazing event from the comfort of your home.  No need to dress up.  No need to go out and hire a babysitter.   No need to try to figure out a way to sneak out the back to get back home to watch football or the baseball playoffs.   The people who frequent the shelters and meal programs get to enjoy this once a year event.   Based on the photos from previous years and the discussions with the guests, they love the event.  Some dress up and look forward to this dinner.   We have posted a slide show on the front page of our website with some of the best photos from the past.  The event is held on October 18, 2013, but the important date for our members is October 30 which is the day we do the drawing for the Gala.  Everyone who donates more than $45 will get their name entered in a drawing to receive a thank you gift for donating.  There are 20 different prizes available including a signed Cleveland Browns football to tickets to the Lake County Captains to Museum and Cleveland Public Theatre Guest passes.   If you donate $90, you will get your name entered twice for double the chance to win a prize.    Just click on the link here to view the prizes and see how to donate.

We have a picture gallery from the previous three years on the support page.   If you are a business, you can click here to see how to support this event.  We have an amazing group of florists who are going to make the dinner extra special.  We have a wonderful musician who is going to perform, and the new Chef at the Cosgrove Center is going to show her culinary chops by making a fine dining style dinner for the 200 individuals with tickets.   Proceeds from the event are split between the Catholic Charities Cosgrove Center and the Homeless Coalition.  NEOCH will use our funds to help with our winter blanket and outreach coordination program.  The Bishop Cosgrove Center is using their funds to continue to operate the Transformational Art Program with supplies and space.   It is a wonderful event, and we hope that you will support the Hand Up Gala

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Next CAHA Meeting Foreclosure and the Clean Up

The next meeting is October 7 at 1:30 and will feature Bill Whitney of the Cuyahoga Land Bank and Lou Tisler of Neighborhood Housing Services.  Bill will give his regular update on the clean up of the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland.  The land bank is taking down shells of housing so that the land can be re-developed into parks, farm, or housing.  They are also working with a few community groups on creative solutions to the protect Cleveland neighborhoods going forward.  Recently, they were granted permission to use some of the foreclosure assistance money to take down more abandoned properties when the Treasury Department decided to allow the hardest hit fund to go to demolish housing.  This had been used to save people's homes and now it will be to wipe away abandoned housing.   Someday at CAHA after the foreclosure crisis is over we will have to discuss if the American dream of homeownership is now dead for millions of lower income families now that the housing bubble has burst and we taken down thousands of units of housing.   We will hear about all the latest news on the first land bank program in Ohio.

In addition, we will have Lou Tisler from Neighborhood Housing Services who is still working with current home owners to prevent foreclosures.  His group is trying to help people restructure their mortgages and working to save homes. They help with mortgage homebuyer education classes and they are the home of the Cuyahoga Land Trust.  NHS is working with more and more people from the suburbs, and working to keep people from giving up on their quest for the American dream and preventing the nightmare of a family moving to a homeless shelter.

Monday October 7 at 1:30 p.m. at the US Bank building (yes, we understand the irony of holding a meeting about foreclosures and the devastation caused in our community in a building owned by one of the mortgage cartel traffickers) at 1350 Euclid Ave. in the lower level.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.