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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.

Homeless Voting
Monday
Jul112016

Training for Police Officers Coming Into Town for RNC

We have delivered this flyer to the Cleveland Police as they prepare the 2,000 police officers in town for the RNC.   This had input from all the local social service providers.  We hope that this will reduce interactions between homeless people and law enforcement. 

Here is a copy of the flyer if you need to print it out and distribute it.

Saturday
Jul092016

Community Shares Power Lunch Recognizes Community Leaders

Why is no one sitting with Councilman Brancatelli? Photo from Community Shares Facebook pageCommunity Shares Power Lunch & Annual Meeting took place Friday, June 24, 2016, at Windows on the River in the Flats. Attendees feasted on their choice of a vegetarian, chicken or pasta entrée, salad, beverage and chocolate cake. They were also able to view, and bid on, baskets to be raffled off donated by member organizations.

After a welcome and year-in-review by Cynthia Ries, the Executive Director of Community Shares, Social Justice Awards were presented by Mary Ellen Gardner-Turner, President, Community Shares Board of Directors and Linda D. Kimble, Community Shares Board of Directors, Social Justice Awards Committee. After the awards were presented, baskets donated by member organizations were raffled off.

This year’s winners: Eleanor R. Gerson Leadership in Social Justice Award winner – Joe Cimperman, former Cleveland City Councilman and current President of Global Cleveland; Distinguished Activist – Lou Tisler, Executive Director of NHS of Greater Cleveland; Rising Artist – Darius Stubbs of Cleveland Public Theater; Membership Organization of the Year – Near West Theater; Social 'justice Volunteer of the year – Diana Cyganovich, Executive Director of Cogswell Hall; And Social Justice Communications: Print Journalism – Rachel Dissell and Brie Zeltner both of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

by Joyce Robinson

Editor's Note:  Joyce also joined the Shares Board as part of the Power Lunch. 

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Saturday
Jul092016

Four Victories and a Loss

Over the last month the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has had a hign number of victories both in court and in public policy.  Last week we did have one setback in the loss of the lawsuit against the State of Ohio in their massive purge of voters from the registration database, but homeless people did see a series of successes this spring. 

First, we won the voter lawsuit against the Secretary of State regarding the thousands of voters who made minor errors on the provisional or absentee ballot outside envelope and had their ballots thrown away.  These voters may have used cursive instead of printing or had transposed one digit of a zip code and their ballot did not count.  They tried to participate in the democratic process and the State of Ohio told them that because they did not meticulously copy their information on the absentee ballot they failed. 

Most of the time the information was on the other side of the envelope printed by the County Board of Election, but it still did not count.  The state was not claiming that the voter could not be identified or was attempting to vote fraudulently.  They were just saying it is not that big of a problem that thousands of voters were disenfranchised.  The federal court disagreed, but the State almost immediately appealed.  We shall see. 

Victory number two was in early May with the hearing held by the Cuyahoga County Council Health and Human Services committee on the Community Women’s Shelter administered by Frontline Services.  It was a victory that the Council had even had this gathering and was able to hear directly from the women after years of allowing this shelter to get so out of control.  We have posted the video from the hearing and the transcript on our website here

The women who participate in the Homeless Congress had asked for twelve items to improve the shelter by September 2016 or they would recommend a new shelter provider step in to replace Frontline.  After months of no reply, we got the hearing.  At the hearing, we asked for four out of the twelve things that could be done immediately to improve the shelter.  Those included no discharges that are not in writing, no denying of bed rest orders, five days to respond to grievances in writing and termination or transfer of the staff member with the largest number of grievances at the shelter.   This final action was taken in June, and the women celebrated.   We will continue to press all the issues at the shelter and Council President Dan Brady has agreed to a committee which will report back to the Homeless Congress. 

We worked with the ACLU to assure that homeless people were not displaced or subjected to unreasonable searches during the Republican National Convention in July.   We won a series of compromises from the City of Cleveland this week in federal court.  One judge granted us much of what we asked for and the City immediately appealed.  We then agreed to mediation in lieu of a protracted appeal and worked out a compromise this week.  We will have a more detailed description of the compromise on our website.

Finally, last year West Side Catholic Center was facing extremely onerous restrictions on their mail service by their local carrier and his supervisor.   One of the many valuable services offered by the Catholic Center on the near West Side is a place for those who live outside or move regularly was the ability to receive mail.  This was extremely valuable for voting purposes and getting into housing or finding employment.  NEOCH staff felt this was one of the most critical essential services in the community, and were especially concerned if this service were to disappear.  After the agency was unable to get a satisfactory response from the Postal Service, we enlisted the help of Senator Sherrod Brown’s office.  After some confusing research and reading huge manuals, we got a meeting with senior officials from the local Postal Service.  They agreed that this was a valuable service that should continue and admitted that the carrier had been incorrect in his interpretation of the postal rules. 

We will continue to push for a reversal of the purge lawsuit, but homeless people in Cuyahoga County have had a pretty good spring with some progress.  We did hear that the purge case will get an expedited review by the appeals court

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Jul052016

New Law for the RNC

Persons possessing an item listed above when (i) the person resides within the Event Zone; and (ii) the possession of said item is kept and used within the person’s residence. The City’s homeless population currently in the Event Zone shall be considered residents of the Event Zone and the place where they are known to reside  shall be considered their residence for purposes of these Regulations;

This is the language that will guide all the law enforcement in Cleveland for the RNC July 18 to the 21st.  This is all we were looking for and we thank the ACLU for intervening on our behalf.  We now need to focus on where people will be on the East Side of Cleveland during the day.  

Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.
Thursday
Jun302016

We Support and Urge Others to Walk for Justice

Saturday, July 9th, thousands of Northeast Ohioans will walk peacefully through Downtown Cleveland to call for a compassionate reform of our country's immigration policies.

The Walk comes just 8 days before Cleveland hosts the Republic National Convention, is an important national event where immigration policy and our country's treatment of people who migrate will be a hot topic of discussion.

WALK FOR JUSTICE
Saturday, July 9, 2016
10 AM - Start at "Free Stamp" in Willard Park (E. 9th & Lakeside)
Walk route is 1.5 miles and ends at the Justice Center near Tower City
Website: walk4justicecle.net | Facebook Event | Walk Map

For more than ten years, each one of you has lent your voice in a very passionate call for humane comprehensive immigration reform.   I am so excited that our presence here in Northeast Ohio makes it possible for us to come together once again in this important public action which says:  Reform ImmigrationNow!

I will be there with many of our immigrant brothers and sisters. There will also be many faith leaders participating, including Bishop Richard Lennon, civic leaders, people from the business community and families! Please plan to be there with us!

Even if you can't make it, I am hopeful you might be able to share news about the event with friends, family, co-workers, students, etc. etc. etc.

T-Shirts will be available to the first 2,000 walkers!

From Deb Kline of Jobs with Justice