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About NEOCH

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.

The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event
Tuesday
Nov292016

Homeless Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil 2016

Homeless Memorial Day Flyer 2016

This is the 30th time that we have read the names of those who passed away in Cleveland.  We are doing this memorial during the day this year and we are honored to have Senator Sherrod Brown as our keynote speaker.  We are collecting the names right now and looking for some religious leaders to say a prayer at the Vigil.  All are welcome to attend.  We often forget about homeless people who are largely invisible.  We hold the memorial so that these same individuals are not forgotten in death. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Monday
Nov282016

Cleveland Has A Really Nice Downtown

 We did our regular count of homeless people on Black Friday again this year.  We started this back in 1999 in response to a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland.  This was the traditional weekend during the White Administration when homeless people were swept off the sidewalk.  Police were dispatched to go out and harass homeless people out of sight by saying, "Get up and get out or you will be arrested."  NEOCH sued and won a settlement which is still in force.  Since that time we go out and check on the population and count how many are outside.  In 1999, there were as many as 60 people sleeping outside.  This year, there were three.  Before you cheer there are a few caveats.  One, the overnight drop in center at Metanoia is now open and draws about 60 people inside.  Second, this is the lowest number for the entire year.  It is a holiday weekend and many people go visit family and are welcomed back in the house even for a short time.  Third, we have reduced the overall number of long term homeless through coordinated outreach, Permanent Supportive housing and guaranteed access to shelter.  Last year, there were eight in the downtown, so this is also down from last year. 

This is only a small geographic area of the 20 blocks downtown.  We drive and walk every street downtown looking for people who choose to sleep outside.  It is not a count of anything that can be used for any academic analysis of homelessness.  One thing that we have to say is how nice Cleveland's downtown is compared to other cities.  Look at these pics below.  We should be proud of the Downtown.  It is pretty special.  There are not homeless people sleeping on benches, in the bushes, in bus shelters like there are in other cities.  The homeless service providers should be richly rewarded for keeping down the population by doing everything they can to keep the shelter doors open.  Thanks to Frontline Services, Lutheran Ministry, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, Metanoia, West Side Catholic, EDEN and all the other groups that feed, cloth, and shelter homeless people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In any other city in America these benches would have homeless people sleeping on them.

 

 

 

 

Look how clean the bus shelter is. Many cities have homeless people sleeping in the bus shelters 

 

 

 Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Wednesday
Nov232016

Homeless Congress Notes for November

November 10, 2016---Cosgrove Center

Upcoming events were addressed and it was announced the Councilman Reed was asked to attend the meeting, but he couldn’t because he is out of town. 

Ruth Gillett, Office of Homeless Services, attended the meeting and talked about the changes to the OHS Advisory Board and participation by three members of Homeless Congress.  She also discussed the Rapid Re-Housing Program that is tentatively set to begin in November (now it looks like January 2017).  She explained that the staff at the two big shelters will be trained on how to refer residents to the program.  This will include making certain that the resident being referred meet the criteria.  She informed the members that the purpose of the program is to help move out of the shelter.  Some income will be necessary to maintain housing, but it will provide three or four months worth of rental assistance to move into housing.

The target population from those staying at the shelter will be residents that have been there the longest and have the ability to pay rent with employment or disability assistance.   There will be a housing locator assigned to the participant to assist in locating affordable housing.  Shared housing with a roommate was an option discussed as a way to be able to afford and maintain housing. 

One of the members wanted to know who is supervising the program.  Gillett informed him that the program is a collaborative effort between the Office of Homeless Services, EDEN, and Frontline Services.  Another member asked who determines whether or not housing passes inspection because there have been problems with the housing he is seeking.  It has not passed the inspection three times.  He was informed that there is a standard set of regulations that the housing must pass to receive any government money. 

There was a question about getting Housing Choice Vouchers and the waiting list and everyone was informed that Voucher Program will not be available until around 2018.  Ruth Gillett went on to say that the Rapid Re-Housing Program is not only for long term disabled homeless residents.  She said this program should be able to assist 300-400 single adults.  She also informed members that utilities are not included in the rent vouchers, so anyone interested in getting housing through Rapid-Rehousing should seek housing that includes utilities.  They will be responsible to pay them otherwise.

EDEN has developed a list of landlords that are willing to participate.  One of the members wanted to know how to resolve a back payment for past EDEN housing.  Ruth explained that he could make payment arrangements by calling the EDEN office.

Bidding for providing services for the women’s shelter was the next topic discussed.  The deadline to submit the bid to oversee the shelter was November 29, 2016 (extended to January 2017 after the meeting).  Brian Davis, NEOCH, feels this is not enough time for interested agencies to prepare and get their bid submitted.  Due to holidays and Election Day, this will make it very difficult to prepare and coordinate information to be able to bid.  He and Loh asked if there was a chance for an extension.  Disputes between residents residing at the women’s shelter was the next concern addressed. There was some discussion about the conditions at the shelter and the problems with the fights between residents.  There was a question about the County allowing for the women to move women who are disruptive to be moved to another facility.  What was the County's recommendation for where a woman stays after there is a dispute between shelters? There is nothing formally in place to address this except to suspend one of the residents from the shelter, especially if there is a restraining order in place.  Ruth stated that at this time, if one resident files a restraining order against another, North Point could be used to house one of the residents. 

Next, there was a discussion about the priority list for the issues at the women’s shelter and the meetings with Frontline Services over the list.   They were informed about the surveys that will be distributed to the current and past residents of the women’s shelter.  They had received copies in their packets and they were asked to read over the surveys and if they felt any changes needed to be made.  They were also asked to think about what changes they feel should be made for the Homeless Congress future in response to the election.  They were also asked if funds should be focused on overflow for shelters or funding organizations to work on public policy changes.  The unanimous decision was overflow.  Overflow was supported as the highest priority.

*The next meeting date is December 8, 2016

by Ramona Turnbull

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Wednesday
Nov232016

National Coalition for the Homeless Call To Action

There are many who are afraid of what is coming in the near future with the new Administration moving into the Executive branch of Government.  We provided our assessment on the blog here.   What can you do?  The National Coalition for the Homeless has an answer.  They are hosting a demonstration in Washington DC right across from the White House.  NEOCH staff will be there, and we hope that you will attend as well.  The demonstration will go all night and then there is a planning session the next day.  Speak up and raise your voice in support of a national housing policy that provides a safety net for those without housing. 

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign your entry

Wednesday
Nov232016

Be Safe In This Time of Division

On November 15, 1996 activist and founder of the Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, buddy gray, was killed by a guy that buddy had helped get into housing.  buddy had opened the drop inn center shelter by taking over a public building and worked as its executive director.  He started a development corporation to try to get homeless and low income people into any redevelopment strategy.  This is the post card that Bonnie sent out to mark the death of her partner, buddy. 

A mentally ill man entered the shelter and shot gray six times then sat and waited for the police to show up.  Most felt that buddy had become the focal point of anger and resentment in the community.  He had pushed the community to open the shelter after a friend had frozen to death on the streets of Cincinnati.  He was pushing against the millions of dollars pouring into Over the Rhine to redevelop the neighborhood as an artist and education center.  This made him a target because he was perceived as holding back neighborhood progress. Many in the community felt that a mentally ill man who was helped into his apartment by staff at the Drop Inn Center focused all his demons on this one person that the community was blaming for the poverty in the neighborhood.  Developers wanted to move the Drop Inn shelter and the other social services in order to build a school of the arts in the neighborhood.  Many were blaming buddy for their misery just as today there is a misplaced blaming of immigrants. 

We live in a similarly divisive time in America.  We are seeing a rash of hate crimes on mosques, women in hajabs, and barristas at Starbucks.  There is a great deal of anger in a deeply divided country.  The Election of 2016 was full of hate like we have never seen before. It exposed a lot of resentment and anxiety that exists in the United States.  There is a search for an enemy for why wages have stagnated, no safety net, the middle class is shrinking, and a generation that is not going to be better than their parents.  We have selected immigrants, Muslims, trade deals and elites as the reason for all the nation's problems.  But it is not a stretch to see that homeless people could be a target in this divided country.  There are so many who do not understand homeless people and are afraid that they could become a homeless person, they may strike out at this fragile group who are exposed outside everyday.    There are going to be many social justice individuals who will be viewed as the enemy for protecting individual rights or protecting these "targets" for hate.

We have to learn from the death of buddy gray.  Hate can kill people.  If we are shielding immigrants from government intrusion into the privacy rights of its citizens, we need to be careful.  If we are protecting fragile populations from bullies, there is always a backlash.  There are a lot of untreated mentally ill people out there who feed off anger and hate in our country.  We have to all be aware of who is around and we have to pay attention to the signs.  We cannot be as confrontational and cannot become a target in our community.  If people start personalizing the argument, it may be necessary to step back for our own safety and the safety of our families.  Social Justice types are not going to be that popular in the middle of America where we are most divided.  We need to be careful in the next few years. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

PS: buddy gray never used capital letters when signing or printing his name, so we are respecting that here.