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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.


Woodchoppers Ball Announced for Kent

Can you believe that this is the 15th Woodchopper's Ball in Greater Cleveland?   Brian Henke has staged this show for the last 15 years, most of the time at the Kent Stage.  The proceeds of the show go to NEOCH as they have for the past 15 years.  This end of the year celebration of the guitar provides one venue for these masters of coaxing amazing and complex sounds out of their axes.  This is like seeing nine shows for the price of one and you will not see these artists appear together anywhere else.    Here is a link to the Woodchopper's page on the Kent Stage. 

Todd Hallawell
Andy Wahlberg
Dan Bankhurst
Muriel Anderson
Mark Sganga
The Night Travelers (James McKinney and Niki Portman), Tim and Myles Thompson
Michael Kelsey
Brian Henke!

This year's event will be hosted by Kent's own, Hal Walker.  The show has grown in popularity so get your tickets now.   It will be Saturday December 12 at 7 p.m.  at the Kent Stage The Kent Stage
175 East Main  Kent, OH, 44240.  You save $4 by purchasing tickets early.  It is well worth the drive down to Kent from Cleveland.  

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Carl Cook Honored at Ignatius Event

We congratuate Carl for all his work keeping people safe in Cuyahoga County and we work closely with the Labre Project locally.  Sounds like a great event.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Some Scary Halloween Stories

A few Halloween stories to scare you.   These are true stories that happen every day in Cleveland to homeless people. 

A Nightmare on Payne Ave...

One, two, Freddy's coming for you. / Three, four, better lock your door. / Five, six, grab your crucifix. / Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. / Nine, ten, never sleep again...because you stayed a couple of weeks at the Women's Shelter.  A woman is raped by an intruder in her apartment in the suburbs of Cleveland and no longer feels safe in the apartment.  She struggles with nightmares and loses her job while constantly reliving the pain and horror.  She can't keep the apartment and does not get help for her PTSD.  This woman is your mom or your sister or your daughter or a total stranger, but she is real.  She suffers in quiet and ends up at the Women's Shelter in downtown Cleveland, because there is no where else for her to go or she may be too proud to ask her family to take her in.  She may not want her family to see her pacing every night because she cannot sleep or she may feel ashamed.   She had heard rumors of how scary the shelter on Payne Ave is, but the rumors do not do it justice. 

She gets a mat on the floor because she is new and there are no beds available.  She quickly realizes that there are 60 women ahead of her to get a bed.  They run out of food and the bathrooms have no privacy.  She weeps all night because of the rubble that is her current life unable to sleep because of the nightmares and the lights on in the dining room all night.  There are women bickering and fighting some because of their own demons and others because they were just released from jail or the conflicts that naturally happens betweent these two groups.  It is one of the circles of hell that she has to overcome while dealing with her own memories of the rape. 

The staff are nasty, burnt out and no better than guards in a prison without locks.  They work for an organization that started out treating mentally ill folks, but none of them seem to recognize the signs of depression, PTSD, or manic behaviour that is all around them.  They do not ease the pain or provide a loving hand when these women are most in need.  They cannot offer suggestions for where to go for help or how to quickly move back into housing.  They see 200 women per night suffering and punch out and go home to a warm shower to wash away the grief that permeates their job.

This is nightmare on Payne Ave that we all bare responsibility for allowing to exist.  We have a created a holding station for women we want to forget or we don't care about.  We support a place that further damages women when they most need our comfort.  We have no idea how this will change them or scar them for rest of their lives.  Will they be harmed by the extreme conditions or the coldness to human suffering that exists on Payne Ave?  Will their relationships with family be permanently damaged?  Will they ever be able to get a normal night of sleep?

A Tell Tale Family Saga...

"TRUE! --nervous --very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?"

What am I going to do?  It is rainy cold Saturday, and my kids have a slight fever.  I am supposed to be the bread winner for the family, and I am letting my family down...I am scared that someone will find out that my family is living in an abandoned house without heat.--Help--We are at the end our rope with food since it is the end of the month.  The teacher in my kid's school suspects that they are homeless...she is asking lots of questions.  What if she finds out?  Will she tell on us?  Will the kids give too much information?--Fear--Afraid that someone will call the child abuse hotline...Regret...How did this all go so wrong?

I call Central Intake and they are closed...How do I get in shelter?  I don't want to go to shelter...they are possibly going to break up the family?...Dread...At our time of most need are we going to be separated?  Providence House for the kids? Mom to the women's shelter and I would be in the shelter with 400 other men...Rough...Violence?...Anger...How would we ever repair the family if we get broken up?

There is no one working to place families on Saturday in Cleveland, so we have to wait to talk to a supervisors who is on salary and can be drafted into listening to our problems...Exploitation...They have to take time away from their family to try to help my family.  Do we trust them?  Should I tell them that we are staying in a place that is awful for our kids?  How honest should we be?...Will she hear the fear in my voice?  Will she allow us to get into a shelter together?  What do I do...?

It did not go well...I decided not to risk being found out so I did not tell her where we were living currently...I did not realize that it would reduce the emergency in her eyes...Stupid...Insanity...Who made these rules?  Did I just harm my own family? Can my family make it until Monday  when a bed may open up in this unsafe location?  I wish I could do the call all over again--My heart is heavy here and I don't see much help for my family in this city...

 Hansel and Gretel May Have been Disabled

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the girl Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once, when great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily bread.

Who would be so gullible to go into a house made of candy?  Who would trust an elderly woman who looked like a witch?  In the end they figured out a plan to defeat the witch, but what if Hansel or Gretel or both were disabled and that was the cause of the wood cutters issues?  They could not afford the cost of care, tutors, health care, and housing associated with the disabilities of the children. 

Gretel and her son Hansel who was severely disabled showed up seeking shelter.  Since he was by law an adult he could not stay with his Mom in the family shelters.  They were taking up the space for two families and so the shelter needed to move them along.  Gretel had to figure out what she was going to do with her disabled son.  If she threw him to the wolves at the men's shelter, she knew that he would not make it out of the fine looking building with the candy exterior.  Or would she risk living in a car or an abandoned building?  Gretel may be able to afford staying in a motel for a week, but after that she would have to make some tough decisions.  There was no one in our community throwing down bread crumbs for a severely disabled 21 year old and her Mom to return to housing.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Sacremento Must Hate Homeless People 

There are times that I wish my friend Daniel Thompson were still alive.  He would have had a field day writing poems about this issue.  This comes to us from Sacramento advocates who testified in oppositon to these new rules limiting access to the transit authority for low income people.  My favorite rule that I think Daniel would have also teed off on was that a person must wear footwear with a sole and must wear clothing above and below the waist.  Daniel would have played on sole and soul and talked about those who sold their soul not being able to ride.   Daniel would have loved exploring a string bikini as a piece of clothing appearing above and below the waist or the exile of the phrase "no shoes, no shirt, no service" for this new language requiring further explanation about below the waist clothing.  The whole thing is strange and so unreasonable. Here is the language:

  • Boarding a vehicle unless clothed above and below the waist and wearing footwear that has a sole (clarification of an existing rule).
  • Emanating a noxious odor, whether from body, clothing, or possessions, that results in discomfort or inconvenience to passengers, unless the odor is the result of a disability or medical condition.
  • Sleeping on a train that has reached the end of a light rail line.
  • Playing sound equipment that is audible to other passengers.

The proposed amendments include changes intended to better reflect Transit Agency's Code of Conduct. These all come as the city prepares for a new playground arena for the wealthy who can afford to pay to see the professional basketball and concerts in downtown Sacramento.   The second bullet point about the highly subjective "emanating a noxious odor..." was removed but the other provisions passed. 

I am still having trouble understanding why any of these are necessary.  Are there a huge numbers of people with holes in their shoes who try to ride the Sacramento Rapid without pants?  Why not include those who showing their underwear?  Don't you always have to get off the train at the end of the line if you are sleeping or wide awake?  Were drivers allowing homeless people to sleep in the train cars after they parked at the end of the rapid lines or was this some form of punishment for tired riders that they locked you in the car at the end of the line if you fell asleep? From the 1970s and 80s with the age of the Walkman weren't there rules about loud music already in place? 

The City of Denver seems to have similar hate problems with the crushing of a Tiny Homes group last week.  Denver is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the country and rents are out of control.  There are not the shelters to serve the number of people who are being priced out of the housing market.  A group, Denver Out Loud, staged a protest after attempting to find a place to build these homes.  They were tired of waiting and were worried that the weather was getting cold so they set up their structures in a public park.  Police and city officials were quick to crush the protest without answering the bigger issue.   It seemed like it was similar to turning on the fire hoses and bringing out the police dogs in response to the protest in the 1960s.  These individuals are petitioning their government for redress and deserve a non-violent response for government to solve problems. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Hotcards Prints Street Cards

Homeless Street Card Available to Direct Homeless People to Places that Can Help

        The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless announced the publication of the Homeless Street Card for 2015 to 2016.  We are so thankful to Hotcards for stepping forward and printing this one page resource guide after the Cleveland Clinic turned down our request.   The Homeless Street Card is a front and back piece of paper updated every year that contains extensive information on resources such as shelters, meal sites, job training agencies, health clinics, chemical dependency services and drop in centers. This valuable and convenient resource makes it easy for homeless individuals to find the assistance they need to get out of their situation.

        It is easy to read, regularly updated, and can be folded up to carry around. Through the generosity of Hotcards, we were able to print 10,000 Homeless Street Cards and have begun to distribute to individuals, shelters, hospitals, schools, police stations, and libraries. Hotcards did an amazing job this year printing the Street Card on durable and bright paper.  We believe that this is the nicest version of the Street Card that we have ever printed over the last 26 years in Cleveland.  Hotcards does custom flyers, full color brochures, business cards, event tickets, custom postcards, door hangers and political printing and can be found at

       Many use our website to download and print out copies of the Street Card at It is the most popular section of our website.  We will post a shorter version of the Street Card on our website for those who do not have the legal sized paper available.   In addition, NEOCH has a Family Street Card and Veteran’s Street Card on our website to print and distribute.  We hope that these one page guides will shorten a person's stay on the streets or in the shelters.  We hope that they can use this resource guide to move out of homelessness quickly.  With all the changes that take place with programs opening and closing it is important to have a trusted resource guide available to assist homeless people.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who signt the entry