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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

Overview of NEOCH Get Out the Vote Activities

Ken Payton who oversees the Cleveland Street Chronicle normally, was in charge of the Get Out the Vote campaign.  He worked on the weekends and did everything possible to get people to vote.  We have to thank Pastor Freddie Thomas Sr. of Living Faith Pentecostal Church for letting us borrow the church van to take homeless to the polls.  Ken had to put up with some unruly folks who just wanted a ride to the polls, but for the most part there was gratitude.  We heard over and over that people said, "I wouldn't have voted if you had not given me a ride."  Ken drove people who it was their first vote ever, and a few who had not voted for eight years.  

  •  36 people driven on Election Day to their precinct to vote.  
  • 1,546 registered in the shelters between June to October 11, 2016.
  • 199 registered by Ken Payton at NEOCH.
  • Early voting rides given to 48 individuals.

We wish that we could have worked closer with Souls to the Polls, but it just never panned out since they were focused on the two weekends.   Ken went to every shelter and nearly many subsidized buildings locally.  We also need to recognize EDEN and Frontline Services who had their staff coordinate rides or walking over the polling place for their residents to vote.  We also saw Famicos Foundation driving their residents over to the polling place.  Ken did all that he could to get homeless people to vote and we owe him a big thanks. 

Brian Davis

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Quick Links to Voting Resources


New Street Newspaper is Available in Cleveland

The new street newspaper is out and available on the streets of Cleveland.  It has the fantastic poster by Thomas Dang on the front page.  There is also an interview with our Champion of Civil Rights 2016, Sandhya Gupta, a lawyer at the Chandra Law Firm. 

Intern Katy Carpenter wrote about the historic Bell vs. City of Boise brief from the Justice Department.  This was a historic filing in a civil rights case that makes the point that if a city is not providing enough shelter how can they issue tickets to homeless people.  Katy also did a commentary about the fine work of the folks over at West Side Catholic shelter around jobs.

Denise wrote a piece about her attempts to help a family get out of homelessness and all the obstacles that were in her way.  There is a good spread of photos in the middle on the campaign to end homelessness. 

All the vendors write for the paper with stories about surviving homelessness and highlighting their medical struggles.  There are hyper-local articles about neighborhoods with the vendors live, and a couple of stories about the holidays.  Two vendors did stories about the election.  One vendor tackled the increase in the bus fare locally. 

One vendor wrote about the Soloist and there was an article about the number of sex offenders filling the shelters without a housing solution.  There are a number of poems and lots of photos of various voting events.

Pick up a copy of the paper downtown or at the West Side Market and support your local street newspaper vendor.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Notes from the October Homeless Congress

Anastasia, an instructor from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and her students attended.  They wanted to discuss some projects she has in mind to with some of the residents from the shelters.  Project Find is the name of the projects she is working on.  One purpose of this project is to bring more awareness to homelessness. 

Each of her students were introduced and communicated their ideas to the members of the Homeless Congress.  Ross, Malinda, and Matthew are the first names of the students.  They had surveys to distribute to the members and to be delivered to the shelters.  They expressed just how important art is and the different ways it could help.  

The students asked for ideas and feedback.  One suggestion was artwork in the shelters and murals.   The members asked about doing some art projects at the men’s shelter.

Anastasia discussed the projects they did last year.  She talked about the mural that was created to put up at the women’s shelter to create the spirit of resiliency.  She also talked about the art classes she conducted at the shelter.  She suggested ideas about projects that would bring awareness to homelessness.  Ms.  Valentine of the Cosgrove Center talked about the art projects on the third floor and informed everyone that there will be an Art Gallery in February.   Ms. Valentine informed Anastasia about the art classes on Tuesday and Thursday’s from 10:00am-2:00pm at Cosgrove.

The raffle was held and one female and one male won the prizes.

Ruth Gillett was next on the agenda.  She presented a PowerPoint presentation about the new Advisory Board. She talked about the project to end veterans and youth homelessness.  She also discussed the new rapid rehousing funds for single homeless adults.  Youth are defined as those between ages 18-24, and the goal is to get them into housing as soon as possible.  It is coordinated intake’s responsibility to link them to the proper resources.  They must address the reason the youth is homeless.  Some of the situations discussed include those kicked out of the house or those exiting foster care. 

In November, short-term rental assistance for single individuals will begin.  The goal is to do a better job linking them to resources.  Better preventative measures is a goal to help end family homelessness.  Gillett stated that there is a need to utilize the shelter system according to the highest need.  The rental assistance that will be provided through this program, is in a progressive engagement model.  It can go up to 6 months, 8 months, and then transfer to a long term program if that is what the individual needs. 

Most people can get back on their feet within 4 months of assistance.  Shared housing was also readdressed as an option.   Another participant asked if she has to be homeless for a long period of time to get the rapid rehousing.  The answer was no.  Another wanted information on what the process and criteria to successfully get Rapid Re-Housing is.  Ruth’s response was that information will be made available as soon as it is all in place, and she will return to discuss at the November meeting.

Also discussed was reasons why landlords are hesitant to accept participants of Rapid Re-Housing.  Brian Davis discussed the Fair Housing Regulations and that landlords may be improperly screening out those with criminal backgrounds.  Davis also discussed urging City Council to pass protections for tenants against discrimination based on their source of income.   It has not been passed in Cleveland as of yet, but we would like it to be passed in Cleveland so that the landlords cannot discriminate against people with vouchers from getting an apartment. 

Next, the meeting for the women’s shelter residents at Frontline was discussed.  The meeting will be on October 20, 2016 at 1:00pm.  They will be meeting with Eric Morse, the COO of Frontline to discuss needed changes at the shelter.  Frontline recently renewed the contract to be the provider at the women’s shelter for another year.  Topics for the meeting are the 12 recommended solutions that were agreed to prior to Frontline renewing the contract.

Cleveland Mediation Center is no longer a part of Frontline and Brian Davis wanted to know if the women residing at the shelter would be willing to trust them as a group to resolve grievances with the shelter.  At the time of the meeting, the answer was no.  This will be further discussed later.  Brian asked if there are any problems that need to be addressed now.  One of the women staying at the shelter talked about how rude the security officers are that are working at the shelter.  Another complaint about trans women staying at the shelter and the women having no experience with this issue.  These two issues were added to the agenda to be further addressed.  The Congress meets on the second Thursday of the month at Cosgrove. 

by Ramona Turnbull

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Award Winners at the Campaign to End Homelessness











NEOCH kicked off the Campaign to End Homelessness with a dinner on October 19 and as part of the evening, we gave out awards.  At the top is the award for Champion of Ending Homelessness for Paul Sherlock who is pictured with Roy Love the NEOCH Board President.  Sherlock is the Board President of Metanoia and is a long time volunteer on outreach.  Below is the 2015 Ione Biggs Award winner, Dr. Marcia Zashin who is pictured speaking as she accepted the award.  Zashin was given the award for her lifetime of work protecting the rights of homeless children to a quality education.  The bottom picture is the Biggs Family with Mayor Frank Jackson who won the award in 2006.  Ione Biggs daughter, who looks exactly like her Mom, flew in from Baltimore for the dinner.  They picked the winner this year for the award this year. You can check out the history of the Ione Biggs Award here.  

The other image is Sandhya Gupta as the Civil Rights Champion for 2016 for all her work on the voting lawsuit this year.  Gupta is an associate at the Chandra Law Firm and has represented us in our lawsuit against the State of Ohio to protect legitimate voters to have their ballots counted.  We will update the entire awards section of our website in the next week.

Brian Davis

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