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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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Tuesday
Jan282014

People Seem to Be Sheltering In Place

Homeless people seem to be sheltering in place and not going outside.  Everything including some of the healthcare clinic sites and drop in centers are closed today, but most people are inside.  The brave and hearty outreach teams have gone around to campsites over the last 24 hours to make sure people were safe.  We have about 8 people who the local outreach teams are checking on regularly.   The students from John Carroll, St. Ignatius, and CWRU Labre projects are still going out to check on the people they have built a relationship with over the years.  The Frontline Services staff are covering the community and helping those with mental health issues or disabilities find safe places to live.  Jim Schlecht, Tim Walters, Carl Cook and the other staff from Metanoia are keeping their drop in center open in this extreme cold.  We are giving out handwarmers, thermal sleeping bags and thousands of blankets to keep people safe.  Even with a wind chill of negative 20 degrees, people decide to stay outside under a tent and piles of blankets.  One woman told an outreach worker that she was worried her stuff inside her tent would be stolen if she went into the shelter or drop in warming center.  

The two big shelters are not turning people away and operating overflow shelters across the community.   We do not turn anyone away who requests shelter in Cleveland, and that is especially difficult during these tough winter weather.  The women over at Seasons of Hope safe haven are keeping four to six fragile women off the streets.  NEOCH staff came in today despite car issues and the 57 degree temperatures inside our office to make sure that if we received calls from social service or pedestrians we could dispatch help.   As one First Call For Help worker reported, it has been nice to see neighbors and pedestrians paying attention to homeless people and engaging them by asking about their safety.  People have called the 2-1-1 helpline to ask for assistance for people they worry about.  We are concerned that we lost track of a couple we kept an eye on during the last arctic cold spell near the freeway.  They were told that they have to move because of a cleanup, and we have not seen them for a week.   We hope that they decided to go inside and just haven't contacted anyone, but we are looking for them.  The Stand Down staff over at Handson NEO reported such an outpouring of help from the community, they have a surplus of winter items left to distribute.  We have been going over and collecting items that we need from their storage site.  We will post more about the Stand Down (it was great) as we get through this emergency. 

Brian Davis

Post reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Jan232014

Added A Few Stats to the Website

We have posted the 2013 statistics from the shelters.  These statistics show 8,300 people used the shelters in 2013 (Oct. 2012 to September 2013).   There were 6,000 single adults and 646 families who used the shelters in Cuyahoga County.   The average stay in an emergency shelter for a single adult is 18 days and for a family nearly 60 days.   69% of the shelter population leave the emergency shelter with some income (including non-cash income).   While only 15% of the single adults leaving the shelter have earned income.   Single individuals leave the shelter with 67% of the population go to a permanent destination. It is interesting that about 45% of the sheltered homeless have not experienced homelessness in the past. 

Some of the statistics that we did not include are the first quarter stats for the shelters from October to December 2013.  The most frightening stat was that the emergency shelters operated at 120% of their capacity for single adults.  This means for most of the first part of the winter, we were operating overflow beds in the community.  Average stays for singles but has decreased in the first quarter, but the family population number of days spent in the shelters has increased.  These numbers do not give the definitive number of homeless people, but they give a good idea on trends and some demographic information.

We also updated the poorest city list for poverty in the United States. We have the top 100 poorest cities according to the US Census from 2012.  It is interesting seeing how some of the largest cities in the United States either have a large number of super rich people to offset the number of poverty people or are doing a good job in keeping down poverty.  It is interesting to see how many of the Midwestern cities are stuggling with poverty in the United States. 

Remember, that you can follow us on Twitter.  We are up to 25 followers.  We are clevhomeless on Twitter.  Gino is regularly updating our twitter feed.

 

 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Jan232014

Don't Get Sick in Texas if You Are Poor!

The second most populous state in the union is not a good place to get sick if you are poor.  Texas has 17.9% of their population living below poverty and the state leaders have decided not to extend health coverage to poor people. That is 4.5 million people who do not have an ability to afford health care coverage.  They are too poor to afford health care through the Affordable Health Care Act, and will not have the ability to have 100% of their coverage paid by the federal government.  Some of those living in poverty are children or elderly and so already have health coverage.  Some are disabled or have health care coverage at a job that pays below the poverty rate, but none of the 4.5 million will be able to obtain Medicaid. 

Florida, a state run by a health care executive, has also made the decision to forgo millions in federal dollars and the ability to improve the health care of probably somewhere around 1.6 million people of the 3.2 million people in Florida living in poverty.  Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Virginia and North Carolina are also making the purely political decision to punish their citizens for electing democrats to federal offices.   There are 25.39 million people in the United States who are currently living below the poverty level in the United States and have picked the wrong state to live in. 

Will people in Nashville see that their neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky are doing a lot better because they have health care?  Will the residents of St. Louis, Missouri move across the mighty river to Illinois in order to get health care coverage?   Never before have people followed government benefits when living in poverty, but will they for health coverage?  Will a Dad with a disabled wife working at Hobby Lobby making minimum wage in Oklahoma City move his family to Little Rock to gain health coverage?   Will the 54 year old chronically unemployed woman in Concord, NH move across the border to Vermont so that at least her health care will be taken care of? 

We have posted a summary of the population of the states that are not going to expand Medicaid with the number of people living in poverty in those states.  We will keep those numbers updates as more and more states come off the list after seeing the errors of their ways.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Jan212014

Cold Weather Plans

The Metanoia Project plans to be open tonight, tomorrow and Thursday in addition to our regular week end hours.  We will open tonight and tomorrow in our regular space at St. Malach's at 2459 washington starting at 7pm staying open to about 7am.  Thursday we will open at St. Malachi Center moving over to our regular space later that evening as there are other activities from 7 to 9pm,  We will provide a light meal (at best) and our guests are encouraged to take advantage of regular meal sites for their evening meal.  I am sure that if you want to drop off hot food over the next couple of nights they would love the help. 

Please feel free to forward this as you feel appropriate. 

Most of the shelters will implement the cold weather plan which means people do not have to leave during the day.  We don't want people outside during these extreme weather days.  NEOCH is open from 9 to 4:30 if you would like to drop off donations to help those outside.  

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Monday
Jan202014

King was a True Revolutionary Voice

I spent part of the day today reading a 1967 speech by Martin Luther King Jr. regarding his opposition to the conflict in Vietnam.   It is an amazing lengthy discussion of the merits of this war and the waste of blood and treasure on this conflict in Southeast Asia.  I was struck by how long and powerfully relevant this speech was for the time.  I cannot think of a venue today in which a non-politician would have opportunity to speak in such detail about a major issue of our time.  We have many 24 hour news channels that we did not have in 1967, and yet we never hear these long discussions of current events.  I would have loved to hear a similar speech by a community leader in 2007 about the War in Iraq or Afghanistan.  King was able to walk through the history of the conflict and the choices we were making in a "society gone mad on war."  King presents his recommendations and talks about his frustration with others who are not speaking about war as "silence is betrayal."

 A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.”

We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls "enemy," for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

 Martin Luther King Jr. from his speech "Beyond Vietnam--A Time to Break Silence"  April 4, 1967 New York City

We remember Martin Luther King Jr. on the day of service and recognition of this great Civil Rights Leader.  We lost a great deal when King's voice was silenced in 1968.  He was so eloquent and one of the greatest speakers in American history.  I have to wonder if King would have been able to turn society against war and the Cold War spending that bankrupted our adversary so that we would have avoided the explosion in homelessness in the 1980s if he had lived.  King would have been 85 this year and I just cannot imagine all this infrastructure going to homeless shelters and emergency services if we had not lost his voice when he was beginning to frequently talk about income inequality. 

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective — the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

from Martin Luther King Jr. from Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? book

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry