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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
Nov282014

How Many Homeless Are in Downtown Cleveland?

Over the last 16 years, we have had a long decline in the number of homeless people sleeping in Downtown Cleveland.  From 60 in 1998 then the shelter opens in 2000 and the number went down to 4 people.   Then it spikes up to 40 in 2006 for some reason and now it has remained steady at 3 people in 2012 to 2014.   We did not survey in 2011 because of the Occupy movement sleeping downtown. 

We started doing this count on Black Friday during the Mike White administration because homeless people were being arrested, threatened with arrest, and transported out of the City during the Thanksgiving season.  NEOCH sued and eventually won a settlement with the City.  We then began surveying homeless people downtown to see if they were being harassed or threatened by the police.  We also kept a count of the number of homeless people.  This is a low number since many homeless people go into stay with families during the holidays.  The shelters are not as busy on Black Friday compared to other Fridays.  Now we have 16 years of numbers of people sleeping downtown, and it is a huge success. 

The big change that happened in the early 2000s was the introduction of the big shelter in Cleveland that did not turn anyone away.  Then in the mid 2000s, there was the stepped up outreach, the introduction of the Permanent Supportive Housing units for the long term homeless and the downtown clean up crews.  Then over the last three years, we have had the Metanoia Project that has reduced the number of people sleeping outside across the City.  All these together have resulted in fewer people sleeping outside.  It is not that we have solved homelessness or even solved people sleeping outside.  There are far more visibly homeless people sleeping on the West Side of Cleveland then there were 10 years ago. 

Denise, the outreach trainee and I met "Darnell" this morning sleeping outside.   He said that he had been kicked out of the 2100 Lakeside for defending himself in a fight.  He was not aware of the Metanoia Project and was trying to stay warm until the library opened.  We offered Darnell a ride and gave him a hygiene kit.  No matter how many shelter beds, how much housing built for homeless people and how many workers are out on the streets, there are always emergencies.  There are always people who will not go into shelter or are kicked out of their house on any given night.  There are people who do not know where to find help and wander the streets in Cleveland. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Nov272014

Fundraiser to Support NEOCH

This is the 12th year for the Woodchopper's Ball.  It is a once in a year concert to support the Coalition featuring really good music by some amazing guitar players. They donate their services to put this fantastic show together.   Hope that you can attend.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Nov252014

Homeless Memorial Day 2014

Every year for the past 28 years, NEOCH has held a candlelight vigil to remember those who passed away while struggling with homelessness.   This year the Vigil will be:

at St. Malachi--Metanoia Project (enter off the parking lot in the back of the Recreation Center) on December 21, 2014 at 7 p.m.

This is part of the National Homeless Memorial Day and Ohio Homeless Memorial Day that is held in over 100 cities around the United States.  Right now we are collecting the names of homeless people who passed away.  It is during the busy holiday season, but it is respectful to pause and remember those struggling with housing.  We have the list of names from the past on our website here.

We will organize a ceremony to read the names and say a prayer that we do not have to read the names of people who die homeless in 2015.  The vigil is held at a program that serves homeless people so it is nice to have the service witnessed by people experiencing homelessness.  Members of the Coalition and the public are invited to participate.   Below is a flyer that you can distribute to friends.  

Candlelight Vigil Flyer

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Nov242014

Some are Not So Thankful This Holiday

The US Interagency Council on Homeless published a nice profile of a a new book about homelessness on their website.  This is the story of one author's son called "Losing Tim" and goes through the illness that took control of Paul Gionfriddo's son.  It is a nice profile of a mentally ill guy who needed housing from the perspective of his father.    

The Diane Rehm Show on Monday had an interesting show on homelessness.  It was a story of Dr. Robert Okin who studied the horrible mental health system in the United which allows millions over the last 30 years to live on the streets largely ignored and isolated.  Worth listening to on their podcast.

On any given night, more than half a million people in the U.S. are homeless, and up to 50 percent may be suffering from mental illness. One psychiatrist says these people have become invisible to the rest of us, and set out to learn about their lives. He spent two years talking to and photographing men and women living on the streets of San Francisco. What he found were histories of abuse, neglect, and resilience.

I guess capitalism does not reign supreme in the hotel industry.  The Radisson served as the overflow site in New York City which is serving a record number of family homeless paid to house families in the hotel.  Radisson staff were not happy to hear that the hotel was serving homeless families and has rejected any further bookings from the Department of Homeless Services even if they pay more.  The article says that there were no issues, but the hotel is concerned with the stigma associated with offering a place at the inn for homeless families.  Maybe they could open up their parking garage as was done in Bethlehem around 2000 years ago.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Nov242014

2015 Membership Campaign Starts Now

NEOCH has sent out its letters asking for your support for the upcoming year.  NEOCH is a membership organization in Cleveland, and we measure our success based on the number of members attracted to the organization.  We are able to go to politicians and say that we represent a membership base and we register homeless people to vote, so you need to listen to us.   We participate in lawsuits based on our membership base which includes individuals, homeless people and organizations.  We do not release our individual members names, but we set goals for overall numbers. 

As a member, we will provide invitations to special events, a periodic newsletter, and access to the member section of our website.  Membership funds are not targeted to one specific project, but can pay for flyers for the Homeless Memorial Day or letters to invite elected officials to Homeless Congress meetings.   We sent out a bumper sticker to many of those who we solicited.   We also provided a look at some of the successes for 2014 in our annual letter. 

  • We provide resources like the HousingCleveland.org website and the Homeless Street Card, a list of services for homeless people, to thousands of people to help them out of homelessness.
  • We work with 35 regular volunteers to staff our legal clinics, publish a newspaper as an alternative to panhandling and collect thousands of blankets to distribute to those outside. This cuts down on the need to hire staff and spend money on administration.
  • Together with Community West Foundation, we have helped coordinate services between religious and student groups and professional outreach workers to build relationships with homeless people outside of the shelter system.  We have hired a liaison to build bridges and communication between those serving food and ministering to those outside and connect them with the housing and health care resources they need. 
  • We worked with the City Mission to protect women and children at Laura’s Home from government overreaching that prevented them from accessing public resources because they went to a religiously-based shelter rather than be assigned a shelter by Central Intake.

You can donate to NEOCH through out website here.

You can donate through your employee payroll deduction program through Community Shares.

Or you can send your donation into NEOCH at 3631 Perkins Ave. #3A-3, Cleveland, Ohio 44114 --Put "membership" in the memo section.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry