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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
Saturday
Apr022016

Cleveland Flats Clean Up 4/2/2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Downtown Cleveland Alliance for all their help with the truck to transport the trash from the Clean Up in the Flats today April 2, 2016.  Thanks to Dennis, NEOCH outreach trainee, for his last day organizing this huge clean up.  We wanted to get rid of some of the clutter from the winter.  Also thanks to the City of Cleveland Public Works folks under the leadership of Michael Cox for allowing us to dump the trash at the Ridge Road center. We made a good start of the Flats clean up, but plenty more work when the St. Ignatius students work on the project on Earth day. We also have to thank the five homeless individuals who helped today.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Saturday
Apr022016

Annual Meeting for 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We released our Annual Report for 2015 on Thursday March 31, 2016 at the NEOCH Annual Meeting.  Kathy Rothenberg was the master of ceremony for this year and Jennifer Kocan gave an overview of the last year and provided a list of all of our accomplishments.  We were so fortunate that many of the Women staying in the Community Women's Shelter were able to attend the meeting.  It always makes the event special when people experiencing homelessness attend.

Professor Marilyn Mobley of CWRU gave a wonderful keynote address to those gathered.  She was so kind to give of her time and inspired the group to continue to push for social change in Cleveland.  We had a special look back at 25 years of the Homeless Stand Down in Cleveland with photos from the last quarter century (Trying to figure out how to post this slide show??).  We gave out a series of awards to recognize the people who contributed the most to improve the lives of homeless people.

Most Valuable Partner: Peter Schindler of the Community West Foundation (Top left)

Michelle Russell 2015 Advocate of the Year (Top right)

Abby Bova was named the 2015 Volunteer of the Year, but could not make the event since she was on vacation for spring break.  (We will have a longer narrative on each award winner in the next few days and when we post the NEOCH Annual Report.)

I was able to give a few projects that the Coalition is working on for 2016, the most important being helping homeless people to vote.  It was a really nice event and thanks to all the board members for their help.  Thanks to Jennifer for providing the food and thanks to the staff for helping to set up the room.  The board elected the same officers as last year, and thanked everyone for their support. It was a good event and we hope that you can attend next year.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Mar312016

Tuesday Night Meal Returns!!

I received a note from the Rescuing the Perishing group that they have a home again.  If you remember they were asked to move in December from behind Frontline Services main building on Payne Ave. out of an overly litigious concern by the agency.  (Lawyers ruin everything).  The City of Cleveland searched for a temporary location and found a lot next to the Women's Shelter for a couple of months.  This week Safety Director McGrath informed the group that they could use the old Third District headquarters at East 19th and Payne to feed people.  This is great news and a huge service to the population.  It provides a good meal to homeless people especially women and does not interfere with other business in the community.  There is not the access to restroom and running water like their was at Frontline, but it is better than one of the dark and abandoned parking lots in the area. 

Here is the note from Sue at Rescuing the Perishing:

We have a forever spot!  Safety Director Mike McGrath called my husband Jack last Tuesday and told us we can use the old Third District parking lot at E 19th and Payne Ave to feed our people on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00.  What a relief! We were there last night and served 86 people. Not bad for a first time effort!  Thanks for your help!

Sue at Rescuing the Perishing

Brian Davis

Posts Reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

 

Tuesday
Mar292016

This is Why We Sued the State Over Voting 

There are two article in the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer here about the voting issues in Ohio.  Why is the Homeless Coalition involved in this lawsuit?

We feel this is a continuation of our lawsuit from 2006 in which there was a settlement in 2010.  We had an agreement with the state that legitimate provisional ballots would be counted.  This new law undermines that issue.  As the Columbus area Board of Elections official admitted legitimate ballots were discarded.

“It was not any fault of our people,” Anthony said. “They were backed into a corner. They could not approve them. And I think that’s a shame. … I just think the law needs to change.” William Anthony of the Franklin County Board of Elections (Columbus Dispatch article).

The Cuyahoga County officials in depositions said that they try not to discard ballots.  Upon closer examination there were many legitimate ballots thrown away and the defense was that the voters have to "take responsibility" for completing the ballot correctly.  We looked through every discarded ballot in Cuyahoga County and it was amazing seeing these voters trying to navigate the paperwork and failing.  There were many elderly who had an issue understanding the form or who made simple errors.  There were guys in jail who did not understand that a jail cannot be used as a residence.  There were people who made simple errors but it was clear that you could determine their identity.  They made a clerical error and their ballot was tossed.  Board of Elections staff who made errors faced no such punishment, and the response was just "Oh, Well..."

The State has said that the single biggest reason for discarding ballots is those who are not registered so these others thrown out are not that big of a deal?  This is a horrible argument. There were elderly women in nursing homes who tried to participate in the voting process as they had done for 40 years and had their ballot tossed in many of the urban centers of Ohio.  The State does not consider this a big issue.  There were those with a fourth grade reading level who had trouble with the envelope for vote by mail or early voting and had their ballot dropped in the trash.  The State seems to feel that this is not a big issue.  Just because only one half of one percent of the encounters between white police officers and African Americans goes badly does not mean that it is not a problem. 

The other argument that the State made was that this was actually an improvement in the law because when a voter uses the new Provisional ballot forms it can change their registration so that in the future they will have updated their address with the Board.  This is also silly since in 2012 and before there were always blank registration cards available to change a person's address at the precincts or at the Board of Elections for early voting.  This was a solution looking for a problem to solve.  The state is saying that we had to disenfranchise thousands of voters in order to help a few with a problem that never existed.  

This is a literary test and a barrier for the disabled to vote.  The state says that disabled and illiterate can admit to a stranger that they have this issue with reading or have a disability and need help.  It was also interesting that the rural communities (Meigs, Wyandot) were more forgiving compared to the urban centers (Cuyahoga, Franklin, Lorain and Summit Counties).  The more rural communities said things like "we knew who they are and could see that they just made an error so we counted their vote."  And by the way these were Republicans, while the Democrats in urban communities said, "That was the law, and sorry they lost their vote, but we were only following the law and directives from the State."   The results of the law are racist and depress low income voter turnout.  

I was surprised that the State was even willing to defend this law.  There was very little oversight and all 88 counties seem to have different interpretations of the law.  We saw some reject as few as 2% of votes questioned while others rejected nearly 24% of those subject to further review.   Who would defend throwing away legitimate ballots that everyone agreed we could determine their eligibility?  There was no fraud or conspiracy in the voting process.  There was no need for this law.  If there was no call for this legislation and no problem to solve, we are left with this has to be voter suppression of a certain group of voters.  What is the demographics of voters living in urban centers of Akron, Cleveland and Lorain, and who do these voters traditionally vote for?  Then you look at which party voted for these laws, and you see an answer for why these laws were passed. 

State Representative Kathleen Clyde did a wonderful job of documenting the reasons behind these changes in the law and how the majority party in Ohio ignored all the warnings that good government groups were giving in opposition to these changes.  She detailed how Democrats opposed these changes and warned that legitimate voters would be disenfranchised.  Former State Senator Nina Turner also testified about the impact of this law on the local community and the level of racism that existed in our communities during the 2012 election.  Thanks to both of these elected leaders for taking a stand against injustice especially when the issue is so fundamental to our democracy as our right to vote. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Tuesday
Mar292016

NEOCH Annual Meeting is Thursday

Peter Schindler standing next to Cavs Player Iman Shumpert

Michelle Russell receives an award from the Marcia Bufford (orange top) at a previous annual meetingNEOCH will have the opportunity to highlight some successes and accomplishments of the past year.  In so doing, we will recognize this year’s Most Valuable Partner, Peter Schindler, of the Community West Foundation for his talent, initiative, care, and support of homeless people.  We are forever indebted to Peter for his drive, advice, and his compassion for homeless people.  He has been particularly instrumental to the SocksPlus campaign and the Outreach Worker Training Program, two of this year’s highlights, and has facilitated NEOCH’s positive image in the media over the past year.  Here is the full press release.  There is still space to attend. Please call to reserve your spot.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.