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About 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.

Friday
Jul102015

Homeless People in the National News

Homelessness in the News

When Pope Francis comes to the U.S. in September, he will meet with people who are homeless, immigrants, and the incarcerated.  This is very noble, but, as Lewis Diuguid points out, the visits should be impromptu to avoid politicians from scripting these meetings.

Community policing in Cincinnati is one of the best in the country, but Cleveland’s police do not know where to start when it comes to working with the community.  Upcoming reforms will hopefully see the police making a positive difference in communities.

What community benefit comes from jailing a homeless person, who is obviously not in the right state of mind?  Nothing.  A person consistently, and incoherently calling 911 needs help getting a stable place to live, not prison time. 

If cities want to end homelessness and improve the conditions of shelters, maybe it is time to start adequately funding the services needed to get homeless people off the street.  After the murder of a shelter director by a former client, shelters in New York City are working to improve safety for the staff.  

Student at Chicago Portfolio School has begun designing new signs for homeless.  These new signs, drawn with an artistic touch, are meant to draw people to have an actual conversation with these people and create awareness.  Sometimes it is just small gestures that make a big difference.

Los Angeles City Council legislation would make something as small as putting a bag on the ground a cause for action by police.  LA civil rights activists urge the mayor to veto this legislation.  Criminalizing homelessness does not see the results it expects to see, but hinders the possibility of ending homelessness. 

Rapid Rehousing has been touted as a cure-all for homelessness, but for many, particularly families, it is not enough.  These families are cut off way before they are able to sustain themselves.  This report looks at the limitations or the Rapid Rehousing movement highlighted by a new HUD report.

New Orleans plans to build $7 million dollar centralized homeless shelter with less restriction. However, it faces opposition from business owners, who rely on myths about the homeless community. 

Since Obama began a push to end veteran homelessness in 2010, many cities and counties have essentially eliminated homelessness.  Now, will we see as much success ending chronic, youth, and family homelessness? Cuyahoga County will be declaring a "functional end" to veteran's homelessness on Veterans Day 2015.

A minister in Nashville, Tennessee is raising money to build micro-homes for the homeless. 

Repurposed military base becomes a recovery center for  addicted homeless people.  This shelter is different from many by allowing the residents to run the shelter, while also providing meaningful things to do during the day, such as online classes.

by Dan the Intern

Opinions represent the opinions of those who sign the entry.

Wednesday
Jul012015

New Ohio Rankings on Website

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has some new information on our website.  This could be helpful for your senior high school reports or college essays about homelessness.  Some very interesting statistics on Ohio and how it ranks in several different areas compared to the other states.  It’s a report card that shows the weaknesses and strengths on some crucial subjects that make a difference for those who live in Ohio.

How much do you know about Ohio?  You will be surprised at some of the statistics an intern named Megan at NEOCH found out about Ohio and compiled so we can quickly see where Ohio ranks next to the other states in categories like Housing, Population and Demographics, Homelessness and Poverty, Economics, Health and Welfare and Crime. 

How many percent of registered voters actually turned out to vote in Ohio?  Where does Ohio rank among 50 states in reducing homelessness?  Is Ohio’s rate of population growth closer to the top or bottom of the scale when compared to 50 other states?  Which state has the highest poverty rate in the nation and how close is Ohio to it?  Where did Ohio rank in its number of murders, robberies and rapes?  Is it possible that Ohio is 7th from the worst state in any of those three violent crime categories? All of these stats are found on our site with an easy to read graphically enhanced webpage.   We encourage you to check out our new section and read some statistics that paint a graphic picture of Ohio and it’s standing amongst the states.  

The site evaluates the state’s performance and growth by showing how Ohio stacks up against its peers.  It even shows the quality of life and life expectancy for the state for the nearly 12 million residents of Ohio.  How long can you expect to live when you reside in the state of Ohio? Check out these very informative statistics to find out.  It’s a very eye opening picture of the state of Ohio and where it falls in categories that are compared across the board for every state in the union.

by Denise Toth

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Sunday
Jun282015

Ohio Rankings on the Site

  Over the last four weeks I have been compiling data about Ohio and how it ranks among the other states.  I must admit, when I started this project it was tedious and mostly consisted of number crunching and html conversion.  However, the more time I spent with the data, the more meaning it took on.  It began to tell me a story about Ohio, a story I would like to share with you.

   The purpose of my data collection was to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding poverty and homelessness.  Furthermore my intent was to use and share this data to generate solutions for poverty and homelessness.  The data I collected was categorized under five major headings; Population & Demographics, Economics, Housing, Families & Homelessness, Health & Welfare and Crime & Criminal Justice

   Throughout my research of Ohio, I encountered some data that was consistent with my expectations, and other data that completely surprised me.  Overall what seemed most notable about Ohio was that it was very rarely ranked in the top or bottom five states, but it was consistently ranked far below average in almost every area effecting poverty.  To me this data suggests that issues effecting poverty and homelessness are not even on the radar of state and local politicians and that oversight of social service providers is lacking.

   The data I collected confirmed my previously held belief that the factors that contribute to homelessness and poverty are intricate and complex.  While there is no single cause of poverty in Ohio, I was able to identify several prominent contributing factors.  These factors include; lack of higher education, lack of employment, racial and socio-economic discrimination, lack of effective social service structures, lack of public resources and lack of public responsibility.   Each of these contributing factors separately is a complex problem, yet together they create a seemingly unbreakable cycle of homelessness and poverty that seems impossible to improve. Without a thorough overhauling of all existing public infrastructures, it is difficult for me to imagine an end to poverty and homelessness.

  Some of the most surprising data I found that pointed to lack of higher education was that Ohio ranks very high for K-12 education, 16th in the nation.  Yet conversely Ohio ranks 39th in the nation for the overall attainment of Bachelors degrees, 40th in the nation for college debt and 39th in the nation for women with 4 or more years of college education.  This indicates a major disconnect between public education and higher education, suggesting that either not enough of it is provided, people are leaving Ohio to receive a higher education and not returning, or higher education is not accessible or affordable.

  The data suggesting severe unemployment problems in Ohio was surprising as well.  Ohio’s population growth is incredibly low and is ranked 44th in the nation, while Ohio still ranks 32nd in the nation for job growth.  Ohio’s workforce is ranked 47th in the nation.  This data suggests that even though businesses are in need of workers, they are still not creating new jobs.

     Even though Ohio ranks very poorly when compared to other states in poverty and homelessness, higher education, unemployment, personal income growth, crimes involving theft, overall heath and keeping people from losing their housing, these issues are not at the forefront of the political arena or even talked about by the media.  It certainly points to neglect in many different areas.  This clearly is a problem that needs extreme talent, creativity, innovation and cooperation to be solved.  It cannot be solved by any one person.  All of us as Ohioans need to come together as a community and take responsibility for our struggling citizens and hold our political leaders and social service providers accountable to begin to solve problems in our society. 

by Megan Bonem

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Sunday
Jun282015

More Homelessness in the News

Homelessness and Governing

Recently, the city council of Madison, Wisconsin has passed legislation to prohibit discrimination based on housing, which the mayor vetoed.  However, homeless people were added to the list of protected classes by the city council overriding the mayor’s veto.

San Francisco just opened America’s first LGBT homeless shelter.  Though it is not big enough to address the whole community, it is a step in the right direction. The Jezzie Collins Shelter is one of the few new shelters created in the United States after huge federal cut backs over the last three years.  

An innovative plan in Hawaii plans to renovate 70 retired buses into homeless shelters.  However, with the highest per capita homeless population in the US, it is time for Hawaii to evaluate what the real problems are in their state.

Activists are asking that Hawaii work to solve homelessness, not make it harder for individuals.  A new study by the University of Hawaii says that homeless sweeps are more harmful than good. "They found that the people living there suffer property and economic loss, physical and psychological harm, and possible constitutional violations," according to the KHON TV report.

Public Defender, Robert Wesley near Orlandoand Orange County Florida stands up against the criminalization of homelessness, and, to an extent, the city is finally listening.  He said that these arrests were "a revolving door" for homeless people. Wesley specifically wants to revamp the arrest procedures for violating local ordinances — including urinating in public, having an open container, trespassing and sleeping in public — that almost exclusively affect homeless people. Instead of being taken to jail, officers would give violators a "notice to appear" in court, according to a story in the Orlando Sentinal.

In St. Cloud, Minnesota, high schoolers and the local Coalition for Homeless Men built the state’s first tiny house.  Yet, it still has a long way to go until someone can live there.  Many zoning and safety laws can prevent someone from having their tiny home. 

Cuts to ‘Food Stamp’ funding has caused nearly 255,000 people in Wisconsin to survive on 1 meal a day.  A disproportionate amount of these people are elderly or disabled.  One Congressman was surviving on Food Stamps and had their benefits cut down to $16 because they did not submit a utility bill as verification. 

No longer are cities merely criminalizing homelessness, but also criminalizing helping homeless people. San Antonio’s law costs one woman up to $2,000 just for feeding homeless people out of her truck.  She is fighting the ticket and the law.

Individuals Making a Difference

A Washington D.C. teen transitions from homelessness to finishing her first year at Georgetown.  She  discussed the difficult transition and disadvantages she faced compared to their wealthy classmates.  This Washington Post article talked to other young people who got out of homelessness. 

One former homeless veteran in Portland, Maine decided to give back to other homeless veterans.  He founded the Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance to connect homeless vets to the services that are available to them, and for those that do not desire the services, he helps in any way he can. 

A Seattle man is trying to change the stereotype of homelessness, largely through Facebook.  Rex Hohlbein started a non-profit called Homeless in Seattle, where he takes photos of homeless people and writes short stories about them in, while also operating a Facebook page that allows every day citizens to help with the needs of the homeless.

In Ann Arbor, landlords are helping to end homelessness by doing what all landlords should do, accept housing vouchers. In response, the Washtenaw Housing Alliance is honoring these individuals. (nice pic of a homeless couple in a tent with their dog--all things not welcome in shelters).

by Dan the Intern

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Thursday
Jun252015

VICTORY!! Housing Trust Fund Preserved

Good afternoon housing advocates!

Because you responded when asked, because you made the calls, sent the emails and made the necessary personal contacts, the message to save the Trust Fund got delivered to our lawmakers. Because of all you did, this became a priority in Conference Committee, and because of all you did, the Ohio Housing Trust Fund was restored.

A few shout-outs in and around the Statehouse: To Reps. Ryan Smith, Kirk Schuring, and Denise Driehaus, who were backed by House leadership and other Reps, and who pushed Senate leaders who ultimately agreed to drop the proposed change. To Sens. Mike Skindell and Charleta Tavares and the Democrat Caucus for their unwavering support. And to the Kasich administration, including the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and especially the Office of Budget and Management, and the Office of the Governor for understanding the important role the Trust Fund plays in both protecting vulnerable populations and moving the economy forward.

We encourage you all to thank your State Representatives and Senators for their support as soon as possible.

This demanding exercise taught us a couple of things: 1) together we can impact housing policy; and 2) we still have a lot of work to do. We learned there is a high level of misunderstanding and lack of knowledge at the Statehouse about what the Trust Fund is and does. A continued lack of understanding will keep the Trust Fund and all of our housing programs vulnerable to future attacks like this, so doing a better job of educating our public officials has to be a top priority.

We urge you to get to your members yet this summer, while it’s fresh in their minds, and show them the value of the Trust Fund in your community. 544 organizations across the state signed on to the letter to the Governor. Let’s use the momentum and strength we’ve all created to elevate the importance of our state’s greatest housing resource!

With gratitude,

Bill Faith
Cathy Johnston
Suzanne Gravette Acker

This post is from the staff of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio