Find Help

Follow us on Twitter
Donate to 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.

Homeless Voting

New Orleans News Items Around Homelessness

The New Orleans-area homeless population is estimated at 4,900 (for one night)– twice as big as before the levees failed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina – and the majority sleeps in the some 40,000 abandoned buildings that remain after the storm. This is an aspect of the city that most tourists don’t see... (FYI: This is more than twice the number found homeless in Cleveland on the same night).

Abandoned house in Cleveland. We have a similar number of abandoned structures and no levee broke in Cleveland.Even after a decade, some elderly, frail, and disabled New Orleanians are without homes or essential services. Joshua Mitchell has lived in his house for the past five years without electricity or running water. That puts Mitchell in a distinct category of post-Katrina squatters, who street-outreach workers describe as “homeless in their own homes.”

Abandoned houses marked with X, homeless people and drug addicts begging on the streets - this is the legacy of Hurricane Katrina after 10 years. Ohio native Johnny Joo said that while other parts of the city have been successfully regenerated, the East Side – which was an impoverished area before Katrina – has continued to struggle.  This article has some amazing photos associated with the story.

A recent count found about 1,703 long term homeless people in New Orleans and the neighboring metropolitan area of Jefferson Parish, according to UNITY of Greater New Orleans, a collaboration of homeless agencies. That's an 85 percent decline in homelessness since 2007 (two years after the levee collapse), when it was at its peak after Katrina with 11,619 homeless people. These are based on the flawed complete count numbers which are unreliable at best.  It also should be noted that the half the population of New Orleans has not returned to the city.

The 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed at least 1,836 people and is considered the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, is Aug. 29.  But 10 years later, many survivors have left and never returned, others are still rebuilding, and much of the city's Lower Ninth Ward remains uninhabited. NPR did a month of stories about the recovery effort with many interviews of people they first met 10 years ago.

New Orleans still bears the scars of Hurricane Katrina, ten years later. More than 500,000 people fled when the storm hit, and many never returned. Many hurricane survivors continue to experience mental health problems related to the storm, whether or not they returned to New Orleans, say researchers tracking Katrina’s psychological aftermath.

In May 2009, about four years after Katrina destroyed most of New Orleans, a locally based research nonprofit called the Bureau of Governmental Research issued a key finding: subsidized housing will assist more of the poorest households in New Orleans than before the disaster, and a far greater number of low- and moderate-income households with incomes between 40% and 80% of median.  The projections have not been met and poor people are paying a higher percentage of their income for housing.  The 2008 downturn had a really bad impact on the development of affordable housing in New Orleans (and the rest of the country).

This American Life had an hour on the aftermath of the levee collapse in New Orleans including the resident of the Lower 9th Ward who had moved to Dallas.  She was back in New Orleans but had to spend part of her time in Dallas begging for money for food and diapers for her kids. The whole hour is worth listening to about the dynamics of people moving into the neighborhood vs. those who survived the drowning of the City. 

Ten years later, New Orleans, which took the brunt of the damage when the levees failed, submerging 80% of the city, is a vastly-improved place on many levels. High school graduation rates have jumped from 56% before the storm to 73% today, thanks to a proliferation of charter schools.

by Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Housing 101 Has Openings

Dear Anonymous:  We would love to have you attend the Housing 101, but you paid on our website anonymously.  How are we supposed to reserve a spot for you if you are anonymous? Network for Good is not a program of NEOCH and when you pay anonymously that means the agency is not told who made a doantion. We are usually full and typically turn away a handful of people from the workshop.  If we do not know who you are how are we supposed to reserve a space for you?   Are you allowed to reserve a ticket at a concert anonymously? or a hotel room?  This happens every workshop we do.  You can donate to NEOCH anonymously, but you cannot pay for Housing 101 anonymously.   It does not make sense.  Here is the web page and below is the flyer.  Hope you can join us to learn about housing but just not anonymously.  Thanks for the anonymous donation to NEOCH and feel free to schedule meetings for yourself for October 23 because you are available. 

--NEOCH staff

For those non anonymous people you can learn about Coordinated Intake, how to refer homeless people to shelter, and housing for veterans.  We will give details about the Housing website in Cleveland and the local fair housing law.  One of the most popular sections of the workshop is the presentation by the Cleveland Housing Court.  The workshop is popular and we only have 22 spots left.  Make your (non-anonymous) reservation today by sending in the form with payment.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Domestic Violence Victims Need Help with Parking

An Open Letter to Cuyahoga County Asking for Help

Mr. Armond Budish
Cuyahoga County Executive
Cuyahoga County Administrative Headquarters
2079 East Ninth Street 
Cleveland, OH 44115

Dear Mr. Budish:

A woman experiencing homelessness has informed us of a problem facing women who are going through domestic violence.  The Northeast Ohio Coalition believes that the County could help.  I have recently been made aware of a women who is a victim of domestic abuse that lost her income and housing after a “partner/victimizer” was arrested and charged with domestic violence and additional charges.   Not only did he abuse her, but he is responsible for the deaths of three women in East Cleveland, and is sitting in jail awaiting trial.  This women has been subpoenaed repeatedly to testify against her abuser in one of the cases.  We currently have a letter from her seeking help to pay for the fees she has to pay for parking as she appears in court.  She is complaining about the fact that she has lost her income and is financially strapped, but has to continue to show up in court for the proceedings against her abuser.  She does not have the fees that she needs to pay to park her vehicle either at the public parking meters or the county parking garage while she attends court appearance after court appearance as the victim of abuse. 

I am asking if there is any way that victims of domestic violence who have to appear in court be given free parking passes to the County garage for the days that they have to appear due to the cases associated with the domestic violence that was perpetrated against them. Unfortunately, these women typically have their finances tied up in legal proceedings as they try to separate from their abuser.  Others flee their abuser with only their clothing and some pocket change.  The woman who contacted us for help has two autistic children to complicate the matter.  She had to pay for parking on July 20, July 30 and August 11 to visit the defendants Parole Officer and then to the Domestic Violence Unit at the Justice Center.  She even missed a hearing because she did not have money for the parking garage and drove around for over 20 minutes until she could find a meter.  She has contacted several agencies who were not able to help her. 

Is it possible that these women who are victims of domestic violence who have to be at the Justice Center be issued a special pass which allows them to park for free while they are across the street at the Justice Center taking care of the business necessary to bring their abuser to justice?  They have already suffered greatly at the hands of someone who claimed to love them and many of them feel victimized again by the system that is in place to help them.  Even putting together a fund through Domestic Violence Child Advocacy Center would be helpful.

I would ask that you consider this request.  If you need to speak to me to discuss this, I can be reached at (216) 432-0540, ext 102.


Denise Toth

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

PS:  The DVC folks called saying that there are funds available to the woman through the Cuyahoga County Witness/Victim of Crime Center.  This is wonderful news but it is not clear to advocates, outreach teams or us that this is available on their list of services here.  It is no wonder that this woman who wrote a two paged impassioned letter asking for help was not clear where to get help.  No where on the page do they say that they help with parking or can help with her austic children while she goes to court.  There is counseling and supportive services, but it is not clear they can offer financial help with transportation.  They should do a better job advertising their services and even being clear on their own website that this is available. Here is the description of the agency from the 2-1-1 database:

Provides victims/witnesses of misdemeanor and felony crimes with information, counseling, support, and advocacy to address the emotional, psychological, and financial hardships caused by crime. Seeks to ensure that victims will be treated with dignity, and receive quality, comprehensive services to assist in meeting their full range of needs.

It does not spell out the assistance available for parking, so how is a victim supposed to know to ask for this help from them?  Good to know, but maybe they need some additional funds to be more clear to victims that their service is available and can help them get to court to testify against their abusers. 

Brian Davis, just my opinion.


News Updates from Around the US

Elvis Summers turned the tiny home trend into a viral campaign to bring innovative shelters to homeless men and women living in and around Los Angeles. He’s raised more than $85,000 in crowdfunding for the project, called Tiny House, Huge Purpose, and received an overflow of volunteers and building materials. City officials, however, are not so thrilled.  City Council passed earlier this year in an attempt to crackdown on homeless encampments and permits authorities to seize such items without notice.

America has the largest number of homeless women and children in the industrialized world. It's a depressing statistic exacerbated by a housing crisis that forced thousands of families out onto the street. In 2010, the Obama administration announced a plan to end homelessness among children, youth, and families by 2020—but, predictably, there have been spats over funding and how to best use federal dollars.

From Fort Lauderdale to Denver to Los Angeles, cities are struggling with a surge in people living in cardboard boxes and doorways. Local lawmakers are trying to ban “camping out” in public spaces, and ordering police to clear the fetid encampments.  The National Coalition for the Homeless is working with others to overturn these efforts to make it illegal to be homeless.

The captions below the pictures of homeless New Yorkers are blunt and derisive: “disgusting,” says one; “bed and breakfast” mocks another. The Guardian newspaper takes a look at efforts in New York City to make it difficult to be without housing.  There is a rise in the United States to make it illegal to perform life sustaining activities such as eating or sleeping in public.

When Oahu, Hawaii-based photographer Diana Kim saw her father for the first time in years, he was standing on a street corner, staring at the asphalt below. He didn't acknowledge her presence.   Kim's father was struggling with mental illness, had been homeless for some time and didn't recognize her.  

America is stronger when we have decent, affordable homes and stable communities. Yet, since 2011, Congress has allowed low spending caps to deprive families and neighborhoods of the housing and community development investments they need to thrive. This is a commentary by the Mayor of Racine Wisconsin about the need for a comprehensive policy for housing people throughout the United States.  He argues that Congress needs to take the lead on this effort.

One of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most ambitious goals is to get the city out of the housing crisis. However, just a few days later, he was silent about nearby Skid Row activists protesting both delays in the construction of affordable housing projects as well as the recent passage of city ordinances 56.11 and 63.44, which criminalize homeless. These laws allow the city to steal items from people who live outside and put in place fines for living outside.

by Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Time to Think About Stand Down 2016

It is a beautiful day in Cleveland, but the bad days of winter are just around the corner.  Remember the unofficial motto of Cleveland is "at least its not snowing."   Plans for the 2016 Homeless Stand Down are underway. 

The Homeless Stand Down is set for January 23, 2016 at Cleveland Public Auditorium.  Typically 1,200 to 1,800 homeless and very low income people attend the Homeless Stand Down.  We have placed the flyer on our Stand Down page. There are pictures from past Stand Downs and a separate history of the Stand Down on our website.

In addition to marking the date, you can volunteer to help out by contacting HandsOn NEO who oversees the Stand Down.  You can get your religious congregation involved in making bagged lunches or preparing hygiene kits.  Groups can sign up to assist with collecting clothing and winter items to distribute. 

NEOCH is in charge of helping with transportation to the event.  Ken is looking for help from church groups, non-profits or others who can pick up and transport homeless people from the shelters to Public Hall.  There are 19 shelters and only a few have their own transportation available.  There is actually one fewer shelter that has their own van with the changes that took place at Family Promise.  Contact Ken by calling NEOCH 432-0540 ext. 106 or printing out the form and returning it to NEOCH. 

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry