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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.

Thursday
Jun042015

First Call For Help Adds Statistics to Website

 

From the First Call For Help Dashboard website June 2015 http://www.211oh.org/trending/

This is really helpful to see trends in the community.  2-1-1/First Call for Help has introduced a "dashboard" to show up to date statistics about people calling for help.  This is typically inside baseball behind the scenes stuff, but it is very helpful to show where there are holes in our social safety net.  We have collected updated stats here and we have a blog that we put interesting graphs that we find regarding poverty and homelessness.   Housing is always high on any of the lists from First Call For Help.

New 2-1-1 Community Dashboard
Thanks to a generous grant from the CareSource Foundation, and in partnership with RTM Designs, United Way 2-1-1 created a dashboard for the community to monitor real-time 2‑1‑1 trends. By visiting 211oh.org/trending you can view counts of needs and trends for various age demographics and topics, including housing, food and behavioral health. The grant provides all 2‑1‑1 centers in Ohio who utilize ReferNet, the opportunity to create local dashboards based on the Cleveland model at no cost to them. This is a work in progress, and we're looking forward to the next version, which will include unmet needs and outcome data.

Really nice upgrade.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Jun012015

Fair Housing Laws Under Attack in Ohio

 

 

Good morning advocates -- I hope you’re ready to help us fight a bill that would roll back civil rights in Ohio by 50 years.

This is not a joke. The Ohio House is considering a measure that would make housing discrimination legal. Hard to believe, but HB 149 (SB 134 in the Senate) would make it legal for certain small landlords and homeowners to discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, family status, military status, etc. when they rent or sell their properties. These bills would also dramatically reduce or remove important sanctions, which currently provide disincentives to discriminate.

You can learn more about these anti-fair housing bills by reading editorials from the Akron Beacon Journal, Toldeo Blade or the Cleveland Plain Dealer, who also oppose the measures.

While we’ve slightly slowed the speed at which this bill is moving, we need your help immediately to reinforce our efforts.

Please help stop our legislature from rolling back civil rights 50 years! Call your elected officials by WEDNESDAY, June 3. See details below:

House Committee on Financial Institutions, Housing,
and Urban Development

Call List for Opponents of HB 149 – amending Ohio’s Fair Housing Law

Please call the Committee Leadership (below) with the following message:


I’m calling today to urge Representative _____________ to OPPOSE House Bill 149. I think that Ohio’s Fair Housing Law should not be changed. It has served us well for 50 years, and House Bill 149 makes unnecessary changes that will weaken civil rights laws.

-OR-


I want Representative _____________ to know that House Bill 149 is WRONG FOR OHIO, and that I expect her/him to OPPOSE House Bill 149, in order to protect the strong civil right law that we’ve had in Ohio since 1965.


Louis Terhar (R) – Chairman - Cincinnati area
District 30
Phone (614) 466-8258

Stephen D. Hambley (R) – Vice Chairman – Brunswick area
District 69
Phone (614) 466-8140

Christie Bryant Kuhns (D) – Ranking Member – Cincinnati area
District 32
Phone (614) 466-1645
 
If you are represented by one of the following committee members,
please also call using the same message.

Andrew Brenner (R) – Powell area
District 67
Phone (614) 644-6711

Tim W. Brown (R) – Bowling Green area
District 3
Phone (614) 466-8104

Mike Dovilla (R) – Berea area
District 7
Phone (614) 466-4895

Bob D. Hackett (R) – London area
District 74
Phone (614) 466-1470

Bill Reineke (R) – Tiffin area
District 88
Phone (614) 466-1374

Gary Scherer (R) – Circleville area
District 92
Phone (614) 644-7928

Robert Sprague (R) – Findlay area
District 83
Phone (614) 466-3819

We can stop these bills if we all pitch in. I appreciate your help in protecting 50 years of civil rights progress. Let's slam the door on housing discrimination in Ohio!

Many thanks,

Bill Faith

Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist for the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio

Wednesday
May272015

Housing 101 Announced for October 23

We have set the date for the next Housing 101.  The first two this year were sold out two weeks before the event.  We will once again have the popular Cleveland Housing Court staff talk about evictions and the eviction process.  We will have a look at Fair Housing with the Housing Center and the Dept. of Veterans Affairs staff will talk about the services available to veterans locally.  Ed from Frontline Services will provide an overview of access to Permanent Supportive Housing and the new Coordinated Strategy.  Finally, we have a look at the finest affordable housing website in Ohio and how to sign up for the special features.   Here is a copy of the flyer and we also have a web page dedicated to the Housing Workshops.  Send the flyer around and tell your friends and tell your co-workers.  This is most likely the last of the housing workshops for the year.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Saturday
May232015

A Beautiful Idealist Speaks to the City Club

What a contrast between the City Club from one Friday forum to the next.  Friday May 22, they had the elegant idealist, Marian Wright Edelman who was carrying on the King Legacy then the next week featured the distorter of the King Legacy, Jason Riley of the Manhattan Institute and Fox News.  He took statistics out of context to fit a conservative political agenda with a message that seemed to be, "Why don't African Americans criticize other African Americans more?"  Riley built an elaborate philosophy around his theory that blacks were better off when they were oppressed and faced open racism in the 1930s to the 1960s before government started meddling. His conservative slant on society seemed to blossom  because his young niece innocently commented on his academic way of speaking.  There was so much wrong with Riley's premise, his facts, his assumptions and his lack of recommendations that I would prefer to focus on the more responsive, hopeful and practical speech of Marian Wright Edelman. 

Edelman as President of the Children's Defense Fund focused on the reality of life in America with the second highest childhood poverty rate in the industrial world.  She seemed to be dealing in the real world on the streets of Cedar or Kinsman and not the world seen from the newsrooms of CNN or the Wall Street Journal.  She gave some tangible and factual solutions to turn around what she characterized as the "moral disgrace" of child poverty with the promotion of their "Leave No Child Behind" strategy.  She characterized childhood poverty as the "greatest threat to our security" facing our nation, and provided real practical public policy that could reduce poverty.   She wanted to see real solutions for the 6.5 million kids facing extreme poverty with a big focus on housing stability (huge increase in housing vouchers) which appealed to me, of course.  Wright Edelman focused on the poor communities such as Cleveland and Baltimore where 1 in 2 minority kids are poor.  She pushed for more access to jobs that pay a fair wage in communities where people live.  She put a figure on solving this problem of childhood poverty in the US at $77.2 Billion.

Ms. Wright Edelman is an amazing woman who helped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr with the Poor People's Campaign in 1968.  After his assassination, Edelman could have curled up and retreated to academia giving up on social activism.  Instead, she focused her attention on lifting up children and becoming one of their loudest and most effective advocates for kids in the United States.  Wright Edelman urges more government involvement in ending childhood poverty and more resources (taxes) going to this problem.  She said, "We don't have a money problem, we have a morality problem."  

Specifics that were included in the Wright Edelman presentation included more taxes for the wealthy, more estate taxes and helping teachers make more money while CEOs make less money.  She stressed the need to "reorder our national values and national priorities" to reflect children as a the first priority. It was especially encouraging to hear her focus on not leaving any child behind including homeless kids, those in foster care and those born into the toughest environment.   Both Riley and Edelman quoted Martin Luther King Jr. with Wright Edelman wanting to speak up for children and hold officials accountable.  The most attractive aspect of the speech were the specific examples of how to child advocacy turns around the lives of individuals.  Edelman talked about specific examples of young people who were successful after graduating from classes in the juvenile detention center or various enrichment activities that are successful for pre-school kids.  She showed some examples of civic minded adults who came out of the foster care system or benefited from the freedom schools. 

The Wright Edelman speech was an inspirational speech to give advocates their marching orders: focus on lifting up children and we will see an improvement in the quality of life for all.  The Riley speech was annoying and just made me uncomfortable that there was not a rebuttal speech given at the same time by Zach or Amy from Policy Matters to provide context and proper framing for the statistics given.  I guess that is what defines the "Citadel of free speech": even the propagandist for libertarian ideas deserves a turn at the microphone.   I really enjoyed the Wright Edelman speech and would encourage listening or watching it on the City Club website.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry. 

Saturday
May232015

How Do We Trust the Police?

I work with the police every week, and the vast majority are caring trustworthy people.  We worked with Commander Andrés González who was one of the best police supervisors ever.  He won the trust of the the social service community and thus the people that we represent. He is now the chief at CMHA and represents the best of the force.  I worked with a police officer who threatened to arrest an EMS driver who was refusing to take in a homeless guy who needed immediate medical attention to the hospital.  The EMS worker said that the guy was faking it and was a "frequent flyer" and he was "done with him."  The health care worker said that if the homeless guy did not go to the hospital he would lose his leg.  The Police officer stepped into demand the EMS worker do his job or he would take him into custody.  We were thankful, and the homeless guy was fine after a week in the hospital.  We have patrolmen that we can call anytime during the day for help and they call us when there is a homeless issue.  Many officers deal in myths about homeless people, but are still well meaning despite their outdated thinking.  There are a small part of the police force in Cleveland who give the CPD and the City a black eye and are angry or view the public as the enemy. 

The 13 officers involved in the Russell/Williams killing, the two officers involved in the death of Tamir Rice, and the Cleveland Police who were caught using improper force are the worst of the force.  With the Homeless Coalition there were two officers down in the Flats who would regularly harass homeless people.  We saw police in the 1990s using unconstitutional harassment of homeless people to drive them out of downtown.  We had uniformed officers at the Community Women's shelter regularly threatening women with arrest or the use of a stun gun to enforce shelter rules.  We have had complaints to our office that one uniformed officer would take women at the shelter home at night.  When the Coalition sued the City in the 1990s over sweeps of homeless people, I had one police officer follow me in my car and then threaten me with arrest for opening my car door into traffic when I was parked at a parking meter on Lakeside.  Many homeless people report excessive bullying by police officers to try to make them disappear from the public.  We have had police cut up tents and respond with violence and threats when a complaint is called in about a homeless person sleeping rough.  These few officers make the whole force look bad, but my issue is that these poorly trained angry officers never get criticized by the union or other police and the City has a hard time firing them. 

Steve Loomis, Cleveland Patrolman's Association union president, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that the forthcoming settlement with the US Justice Department was "disheartening," and added that "I think we've done an incredible job here."  After digesting the consent decree that the City signed with the Justice Department Loomis said,

"This is a political agenda," he said. "This has nothing to do with the actions of the men and women of the Cleveland police department."

No one could ever say the CPD were doing an "incredible" job here.  I understand representing your union members and I understand that these high profile cases have really hurt the image of the Cleveland Police, but these statements just make things worse for the men and woman who wear the badge.  Just don't say anything, Mr. Loomis, you are not helping here.   What is it going to take for the union to see a problem and admit that changes need to happen.  A little boy was killed only seconds after the police arrived on the scene neither protecting nor serving the Cudell neighborhood, and the union does not see a problem?

People keep saying that if the victims of these crimes had just given up, none of these incidents would have happened.  This is unfair to the victims since no one can ever prove this and no one can confirm whether some of these people did try to give up and were killed anyway.  We do not know what happened on the Shoreway or those side streets downtown or in that elementary school in East Cleveland.  We don't know if these people tried to give up and were killed anyway, and we do know that 12 year old with an adolescent brain was not given much time to surrender before he was shot.

What is it going to take to regain our trust? This is not a occupying force attempting to keep the peace in Iraq.  These are citizens and taxpayers of Cleveland some with good intentions and others with bad motives and a large number facing desperate decisions to survive and get out of poverty.  Starting in front of 2100 Lakeside shelter when the chase began for Timothy Russell's Chevy Malibu on that fateful November 2012 evening, the Police have been dealt a body blow to their credibility.  These three high profile deaths have exposed deep distrust in the Department by those paying their salary.  They have revealed that many in the Department felt that they were at war with taxpayers and citizens.  We saw that in pockets of the CPD Black and Latino lives did not matter and victims were treated as less than human.  We saw why women were not willing to come forward to tell police about the predator who was living over on Imperial Avenue.   We saw that many white officers loved the job security and comfortable living the salary provided but did not like the majority black taxpayers who paid their salary and did not want to be forced to live in those communities that they were patrolling. 

People keep saying that if the victims of these crimes had just given up, none of these incidents would have happened.  This is unfair to the victims since no one can ever prove this and no one can confirm whether some of these people did try to give up and were killed anyway.  We do not know what happened on the Shoreway or those side streets downtown or in that elementary school in East Cleveland.  We don't know if these people tried to give up and were killed anyway, and we do know that Tamir Rice was not given much time to surrender before he was shot. 

When an institution is exposed as having lost the trust of the people who pay their salary, it takes a concerted effort and a lot of apologizing to regain that standing.  After the excesses of the Hoover controlled FBI, the agency was neutered and weakened for decades.  The September 11 attacks exposed the horrible oversight of airport security and led to the scrapping of that system with a whole new agency created.  The repeated scandals involving the Secret Service has put that agency under the microscope.  The Army Corps of Engineers has never recognized its role in the drowning of New Orleans after Katrina, but is distrusted across the United States.  We know that the first thing that must happen is that everyone must admit there is a problem including the union chief.  Until there is recognition of the problem, there is no way to heal.  The falling down drunk does not see the problem with his excessive drinking until he sobers up to see the trail of destruction.  The union and the rank and file need to sober up to see the results of some of their member's abuse of power.   I can't think of an example of when an organization fell so far down and was able to regain the trust of the public.  It is going to take new leadership, a new name, a new contract with the City, and some serious penance to show that they deserve our trust. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry and not the agency

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