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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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Monday
Feb022015

Community West Announces Socks Plus Campaign

The Community West Foundation announced their campaign to provide winter socks and boots to homeless people in Cleveland Ohio.  They have produced a nice video with Carl Cook, Tim Walters and Anita Brenan over at St. Malachi.  They have started promoting the campaign on social networking sites, and are producing a public service announcement.  They give very specific items that we are looking to collect this winter, and we have begun filling the orders.  We have purchased the first group of backpacks, boots, socks, long underwear, and gloves, and will begin distributing them. 

This was a good day to remind everyone of the needs homeless people face this winter.  There are thousands of donations to nearly every social service provider in November and December around the holidays.  Then there is this massive effort to provide clothing and services around the Homeless Stand Down.  Now, through March are when people often forget about donating items to homeless people.  We have a list of the items we are collecting here.  Those items, especially socks and boots, that we cannot get donated, Community West has agreed to seek funding to fulfill our needs.  We have taken the sizes of people in need, and are beginning to give them out to people. 

Many of the outreach workers will have access to the donations.  They will record the individual's name and location and give that back to us to track where people are staying.  We will use the donations as a first step to building a trusting relationship.  We will work throughout the rest of the winter and the showers in the Spring to keep people safe with the help of the Socks Plus Campaign.

Brian Davis

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Monday
Feb022015

CAHA Meeting Postponed

Because of Groundhogs Day and the depression most of us felt when we heard that the Pennsylvania rodent had predicted another six more weeks of snow, we had to postpone the CAHA meeting for today.  We hope to reschedule for next Monday February 9 at 1:30 p.m. at HUD (1350 Euclid Ave.)  We will post an update on Tuesday.  We hope to have a discussion of the move of Coordinated Intake to 1736 Superior Ave. and the housing assistance for veterans.  Stay tuned for more details.  Here is the link to more details on CAHA.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Thursday
Jan292015

Sr Donna Hawk: 1943 to 2015

She was a hawk, befitting her name, on the near West Side of Cleveland protecting homeless people.  My first memory of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless was a picture of four tough looking women on the front of the Plain Dealer Metro section being sworn in as Deputy Registrars to assist homeless people to vote.  This was in early 1990s and they looked like no one would mess with them.  They had won the right for homeless people to use a park bench as an address to vote, and all of the volunteers in the back of the photo were going to fan out and bring social justice to the community.  The one on the right with her hand up being sworn in was Donna Hawk who passed away last night.  Sister Donna Hawk was never intimidated by power or the powerful.   She helped to found Transitional Housing Inc. out of an abandoned motel on the near West Side of Cleveland (now called Front Steps).   She had a deep love for helping women even those who have made mistakes in their life.

Sr. Donna was a part of the Coalition at its founding in 1987.  She was the County appointment to the Office of Homeless Services. She worked to bring more resources to the struggle to end homelessness and create safe places for those without housing.  Sr. Donna stood up to neighbors who responded to homeless people with fear.  It is always difficult to argue with a nun.  She embarrassed politicians into finding a space at night for everyone who requested help.  Sr. Donna was a strong, opinionated champion for mending the social safety net.  She believed that government could solve problems and that by focusing on a problem elected offiicals can allieviate human suffering. 

Sister Donna Hawk did not always agree with the direction of the Coalition or our advocacy positions, but family members often disagree.  At the end of the day on the big issues we agreed that it was an injustice people had to spend time without a home.  We agreed that the richest society to ever exist could find a way to provide housing to every one living in our city.  We agreed that women need additional attention and resources because the overwhelming majority who experience homelessness have a history of serious abuse leading to an emergency.

Sister Donna Hawk Funeral Liturgy:

Monday, February 2, 2015, 10:00 AM

St. Joseph Center at the Sisters of St. Joseph mother house – 3430 Rocky River Dr.

Celebrant: Father Bob Begin

Here is the Congressional Statement from Dennis Kucinich recognizing her work in Cleveland:

"Madam Speaker, I rise today in honor and recognition of Sister Donna L. Hawk of Cleveland, Ohio, as she is named the West Side Catholic Center’s Walk in Faith recipient of 2009. Throughout her life, Sister Donna Hawk has turned her faith into action, uplifting the lives of those living on the streets. Sister Donna has become a nationally-known leader by creating and operating transitional housing for the homeless, especially for women and their children fleeing domestic violence. While working for many years as a volunteer at the West Side Catholic Shelter, Sister Donna developed a special compassion for women, many of whom had young children seeking refuge from abusive situations.  In 1986, without funding, Sister Donna teamed with Sister Loretta Schulte to rally community leaders and developers in order to transform a motel on Cleveland’s west side into Transitional Housing, Inc.—a place of shelter and source of counseling and resources for women and children in need. For more than twenty years, Transitional Housing,Inc. has served as a model for similar programs throughout the nation and across the world."

 

Brian Davis

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Thursday
Jan292015

Socks Plus Campaign Begins at Stand Down

In 2014, staff from the Community West Foundation toured some of the encampments around Cleveland and sat down to talk to those who live outside.  Nearly every one they talked to said that they needed warm socks and boots.  The outreach workers also agree that boots and socks are in short supply for most of the year.  Health care clinics are regularly dealing with foot issues because of all the walking done by homeless people.  The Community West Foundation staff caucused and decided to focus some funding on what they are calling the "Socks Plus" campaign to raise support for socks and boots for homeless people who spend a great deal of time outdoors. 

NEOCH is gathering quality socks and boots along with other winter items to distribute to as many people as possible over the next few weeks.  Community West staff, Peter Schindler, attended the homeless Stand Down and then came to the Metanoia Project to see the first distribution of the Socks Plus campaign.  NEOCH outreach worker, Denise Toth, gave away thermal winter socks and thermal hoodies on Saturday evening to everyone at the Metanoia Project.  We are gathering backpacks now that the Stand Down is over to give out to homeless people who are reluctant to go to shelter.  These backpacks will be full of thermal tops, handwarmers, gloves, boots and the thermal socks.   We will continue the distribution through the spring and may add rain ponchos or other items to keep people dry. 

The Second District Police also gave away items this weekend that they collected including new underwear and new socks at Metanoia.  We want to keep people warm and dry this winter. We do not want to see people losing limbs or dying because of the cold in Cleveland.  Our primary goal while working with homeless people is to keep them safe.  The most dangerous time for hypothermia is the spring when it is hard to keep dry.  The lower temperatures and the rain is a killer for homeless people. Thanks to the Community West staff and all those who donate to the Socks Plus campaign. We will keep the community updated about the distribution of these critical items as part of the Socks Plus campaign.

Brian Davis

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Thursday
Jan292015

Bill Introduced to Change the Definition of Homelessness

In an effort to capture the number of young people who do not go into shelter, the Senate has proposed a new bill to reform the way homeless people are counted.  Al Jazeera America did a really nice story about the issue.  We had this fight 10 years ago when the HEARTH Act was being debated.  Advocates from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Youth  wanted to align the definition of homelessness with the Department of Education definition. 

The DoE uses a standard definition that we all think about when we think of homelessness.  The HUD definition does not include those doubled up, coming out of jail, those within a few days of homelessness or those who regularly staying in a motel.  Advocates from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and staff of HUD hated this idea to have one broad definition of homelessness.  They felt that it would triple the population of homelessness overnight. It would make it impossible to count during their annual point in time counts.  All the successes claimed by the Permanent Supportive housing movement would be lost with the stroke of a pen.  What administration wants to be in office and preside over a time when homelessness increased by 200 to 300 percent in one year? 

A compromise was struck by maintaining the HUD definition for most of the programs with additional hoops to jump through in order to be able to use a small piece of the federal funding to serve young people or families.  This compromise is obviously not working, and so now Congress has proposed a change. NEOCH supports this change in the law to align the definitions of homelessness across the federal agencies.  We oppose the Point in Time count as a huge waste of time, and we are not sure that the 100,000 homes created over the last five years are meeting the need of our most disabled and long term homeless people. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry