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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.


News Updates from Around the US

Elvis Summers turned the tiny home trend into a viral campaign to bring innovative shelters to homeless men and women living in and around Los Angeles. He’s raised more than $85,000 in crowdfunding for the project, called Tiny House, Huge Purpose, and received an overflow of volunteers and building materials. City officials, however, are not so thrilled.  City Council passed earlier this year in an attempt to crackdown on homeless encampments and permits authorities to seize such items without notice.

America has the largest number of homeless women and children in the industrialized world. It's a depressing statistic exacerbated by a housing crisis that forced thousands of families out onto the street. In 2010, the Obama administration announced a plan to end homelessness among children, youth, and families by 2020—but, predictably, there have been spats over funding and how to best use federal dollars.

From Fort Lauderdale to Denver to Los Angeles, cities are struggling with a surge in people living in cardboard boxes and doorways. Local lawmakers are trying to ban “camping out” in public spaces, and ordering police to clear the fetid encampments.  The National Coalition for the Homeless is working with others to overturn these efforts to make it illegal to be homeless.

The captions below the pictures of homeless New Yorkers are blunt and derisive: “disgusting,” says one; “bed and breakfast” mocks another. The Guardian newspaper takes a look at efforts in New York City to make it difficult to be without housing.  There is a rise in the United States to make it illegal to perform life sustaining activities such as eating or sleeping in public.

When Oahu, Hawaii-based photographer Diana Kim saw her father for the first time in years, he was standing on a street corner, staring at the asphalt below. He didn't acknowledge her presence.   Kim's father was struggling with mental illness, had been homeless for some time and didn't recognize her.  

America is stronger when we have decent, affordable homes and stable communities. Yet, since 2011, Congress has allowed low spending caps to deprive families and neighborhoods of the housing and community development investments they need to thrive. This is a commentary by the Mayor of Racine Wisconsin about the need for a comprehensive policy for housing people throughout the United States.  He argues that Congress needs to take the lead on this effort.

One of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s most ambitious goals is to get the city out of the housing crisis. However, just a few days later, he was silent about nearby Skid Row activists protesting both delays in the construction of affordable housing projects as well as the recent passage of city ordinances 56.11 and 63.44, which criminalize homeless. These laws allow the city to steal items from people who live outside and put in place fines for living outside.

by Joyce Robinson

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Time to Think About Stand Down 2016

It is a beautiful day in Cleveland, but the bad days of winter are just around the corner.  Remember the unofficial motto of Cleveland is "at least its not snowing."   Plans for the 2016 Homeless Stand Down are underway. 

The Homeless Stand Down is set for January 23, 2016 at Cleveland Public Auditorium.  Typically 1,200 to 1,800 homeless and very low income people attend the Homeless Stand Down.  We have placed the flyer on our Stand Down page. There are pictures from past Stand Downs and a separate history of the Stand Down on our website.

In addition to marking the date, you can volunteer to help out by contacting HandsOn NEO who oversees the Stand Down.  You can get your religious congregation involved in making bagged lunches or preparing hygiene kits.  Groups can sign up to assist with collecting clothing and winter items to distribute. 

NEOCH is in charge of helping with transportation to the event.  Ken is looking for help from church groups, non-profits or others who can pick up and transport homeless people from the shelters to Public Hall.  There are 19 shelters and only a few have their own transportation available.  There is actually one fewer shelter that has their own van with the changes that took place at Family Promise.  Contact Ken by calling NEOCH 432-0540 ext. 106 or printing out the form and returning it to NEOCH. 

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Housing Cleveland 10 Years Old

Ten years ago we were all shocked by the storm hitting the Gulf Coast and then over the next two weeks the inept response to those struggling with the disaster.  We saw how the Army Corps of Engineers had done a disservice to the region by creating a failed levee system that resulted in drowning of the Crescent City.  In Cleveland, we helped with a relocating hundreds of people in both temporary and long term assistance.  Cuyahoga and Cleveland officials along with the Red Cross, Mental Health Services, and hundreds of volunteers opened the Cleveland Convention Center to those struggling with the loss of their housing.  The community pulled together to make it as easy as possible to find relatives and find housing in Greater Cleveland.  We were fortunate to have just opened the website only two weeks before.  This allowed caring landlords to list their property just as hundreds were traveling north to find a place to live after their houses were flooded in the Gulf region.

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority directed all of their landlords to the site to list their property.  Within one month we had already populated the site with 4,000 potential units and 400 available units.  Everyone wanted to help and we had this wonderful website overseen by the North Carolina Not-for-Profit Company, Socialserve who helped set up this resource.  They have the call center to respond to questions and help landlords list their property.  Socialserve also calls landlords who have not logged in and keep the information updated.   NEOCH helped to set up a local advisory board of housing, government and social service providers to manage the website.  The local community really embraced the website, and it quickly shot up to one of the largest of these housing search websites in the country. recently sold off the software  (click for press release) to focus on customer service and expansion.   We have had as much traffic as much larger cities, and the website has expanded to 36 states from the dozen or so 10 years ago.  The disaster services folks in many states have embraced the website realizing how valuable it is to have a place to list available housing units in the event of a natural disaster.  The website is free to use for both the individual searching for housing and landlords listing their property.  We partner with CMHA to list the properties in which landlords who accept a voucher may have vacancies.  The call center has Spanish speaking staff to handle potential tenants who do not speak English. 

We have had before the housing bubble burst over 1 million people searching for housing in one year on the site.  There are 700 available units on the site today.   There are 5,500 landlords using the site who have placed 32,000 units in the database.  There were 992,500 searches done over the last year by nearly 300,000 users.  There is an ability to log in to the site for housing case managers to get additional information about the properties on the site.  It is only operational in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties at this time, but we hope to expand it statewide.  We are happy to celebrate 10 years of and look forward to future growth. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


A Champion of Affordable Housing Passes

He grew up in Public Housing and became a champion of affordable housing in the United States.  Homeless people in Cleveland were better off because we were represented by Louis Stokes in Congress.  He was a true social justice champion for the United States.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


NPR and WashPost Take Up Criminalization

This is how not to do law enforcement. Austin Texas Police in full riot gear patrol near the shelter. These officers cannot be identified and their badges are not visible. Photo by Richard Troxell

NPR had a nice story about the Justice Department weighing in on the Bell vs. Boise Lawsuit.   This was a good assessment of the issues with an interview of Eric Tars of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. It is worth the listen.

The Washington Post also did a good overview of the issue. 

"Homelessness is just becoming more visible in communities, and when homelessness becomes more visible, there’s more pressure on community leaders to do something about it," Tars says. "And rather than actually examining what’s the best thing to do about homelessness, the knee-jerk response — as with so many other things in society — is 'we’ll address this social issue with the criminal justice system.'"

There was a story about this issue here:

By Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

We felt that this was such a historic decision that we have dedicated a page on our website to the decision which has a copy of the well written brief.