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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
Feb272015

Mediation/Conflict Resolution Training

Here is a copy of the flyer that you can print out and distribute.

This is a partnership between the Cleveland Mediation Center and the Homeless Coalition to teach people how to de-escalate and work for compromises in a polarized society.  We hope to have volunteers and outreach workers attend to learn how to settle disputes on the streets.  We only have 25 slots available for this event, so you must RSVP your spot.  We need to thank the Community West Foundation for making this training available and free to members of the struggle to end homelessness in Cleveland.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday
Feb242015

Street Card Updated

The new version of the Street Card and the Veteran Street Card are now posted on the NEOCH website here.  We are updating it in winter because the Coordinated Intake moved from the shelters to 1736 Superior on the second Floor.  They will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everyday.  After hours men go to 2100 Lakeside and women go to 2227 Payne Ave and families call 2-1-1.  This is a big move that should be great for many who are weary of going to shelter.  We put all this on the Street Card and is available to print out.  We felt that the Coordinated Intake move is so huge that we had to update the Street Card at the 6 month mark.  We are still working on a printing strategy. 

For those who do not know, the Street Card is a one page document of all the services available to homeless people directly from the street.  This front and back page is easy to give out to homeless people and lists everything that is available without a referral.  It lists weekly and daily food, legal, housing, counseling and other important numbers. We have published a Street Card in Cleveland for 26 years and typically update it in the summer.  This is the first year we did an interim update because of the move of Coordinated Intake to the Second Floor of the Cosgrove Center.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Feb202015

News Stories for this Week

There was an explosive report issued out of the University of Berkeley and proof that cities are making it illegal to be homeless.   The report shows that 58 cities are passing laws that are unequally enforced on homeless people.  They cited anti-camping laws among others as unfairly targeting homeless people for criminal citations. 

Channel 3 has been looking at people who live outside in this extreme cold. They talked to Rick and before that Christine.  They have been talking to people who stay outside.

Channel 19 put aside their tabloid news and did a nice story about the Salvation Army Canteen (not a Cantina).  The Salvation Army feeds hundreds in East Cleveland and Cleveland. 

St. Louis takes steps to make it easier to participate in the voucher program and makes it difficult for landlords to refuse to take a voucher.  We need similar laws that would not allow landlords to discriminate against voucher holders. 

We love the libraries and in Cleveland they are really helpful to homeless people.  This is a story about how libraries are trying to adapt to the number of people who are homeless and using the facility.  This is a Huffington Post article about libraries attempts to help homeless people with jobs and health care. 

How about a public restroom in Cleveland?  New Mexico was looking at introducing a shower bus that goes around the community to help people maintain their hygiene. 

Mother Jones did a long story about Housing First.  I am always dubious about quoting statisitcs (72% drop) when we know how unreliable counting homeless people can be.  They do a good job of outlining all the good items about homelessness.  It does not mention some of the draw backs of the programs or how the programs that are saving money can spend that savings on other homeless people.  It is a good overview of the issues and the program characteristics.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Feb202015

Medicaid Verification Letters

The State of Ohio has requested income verification from all those who signed up for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.  So far 107,000 people have not responded to the letters.  They are given until the end of the February to respond or they will be terminated from the program.  This could mean that the medicine that they are on will not be covered if they show up to fill a prescription.  They will have to re-sign up if they attempt to get medical assistance. 

Low income people including homeless people move frequently and often have a hard time getting mail.  It seems like there should be a better way to maintain eligibility with health insurance than the US mail.  All the work health care groups did last year to get people to sign up may be overturned.  The shelters are not seeing a huge number of unclaimed letters, but I am still checking on this.  We hope the lack of submission of paperwork will not reduce the number of insured in Ohio. This increase in the number who have health insurance has been one of the few bright spots for lower income people according to an analysis by the Plain Dealer today:

The impact was most significant for the bottom 20 percent (incomes of less than $20,000), where the portion of income directed toward state taxes was expected to increase by 0.9 percent, or $116 a year.

We also have to wonder how much this has to do with an overwhelmed workforce at Ohio Jobs and Family Services which has some incredible case load.  Try getting a person to answer the phone or respond to your voice mail.  My experience is that the voice mail boxes are full for most of the workers. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Thursday
Feb192015

Signs of Hypothermia

This is from the National Institute of Health Website:

Warning signs of hypothermia

Sometimes it is hard to tell if a person has hypothermia. Look for clues. Is the house very cold? Is the person not dressed for cold weather? Is the person speaking slower than normal and having trouble keeping his or her balance?

Watch for the signs of hypothermia in yourself, too. You might become confused if your body temperature gets very low. Talk to your family and friends about the warning signs so they can look out for you.

Early signs of hypothermia:

  • cold feet and hands
  • puffy or swollen face
  • pale skin
  • shivering (in some cases the person with hypothermia does not shiver)
  • slower than normal speech or slurring words
  • acting sleepy
  • being angry or confused

Later signs of hypothermia:

  • moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
  • stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
  • slow heartbeat
  • slow, shallow breathing
  • blacking out or losing consciousness

What are we doing to meet the needs of homeless people in the extreme cold?

  1. Shelters are not supposed to close during the day during extreme weather.  People are allowed to stay inside during the day so they do not have to brave the cold to get to the drop in centers.  (Most days many have to leave from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. )
  2. Cleveland shelters never turn people away who ask for shelter.  This means that we have to run an overflow system with transportation many nights of the year, but it keeps people safe.  It is expensive, and we thank Cuyahoga County taxpayers for this support.
  3. We have a night time drop in center open on extremely cold nights and every weekend winter night for those who do not like to go to shelter.  It is called the Metanoia project and is over at St. Malachi.  This is where the outreach teams can drop people when they find people outside after 7 p.m. at night.  There is a similar facility on the East Side of Cleveland for single women called Seasons of Hope. 
  4. The City of Cleveland and a few of the suburbs have opened warming centers for anyone (including homeless people) who need to stay outside. 
  5. We have teams of outreach staff outside driving around in vans looking to pick up homeless people and take them inside. Many of these workers have backpacks full of boots, long underwear, gloves and winter socks to give out.  These are the donations provided from Community West Foundation Socks Plus Campaign.  
  6. In addition, to the socks and boots, we have used some of the funds to put people up for the last few nights to keep them safe.  We have 8 people who need additional help and will not go to shelter that we have taken inside to keep them warm during this extreme weather.  

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry