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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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Entries in Cosgrove Center (8)

Friday
Nov282014

I Am Thankful for...

Jim Schlecht of Care Alliance...for being non judgemental in helping people who have made poor choices or are struggling with demons. 

Tyrone H now of Care Alliance...for quickly learning the ins and outs of providing help to the shelter resistent and getting a full time job to work with people struggling with housing issues.

Denise (her picture is on the front of our website now) our latest hire for the training position...for being so compassionate to the people in her care.  For learning how to move from offering comfort to offering a hand up. 

Metanoia...for offering a safe warm place inside on the coldest nights of the year and for helping the most vulnerable in our society. 91 people found help on this last Sunday.

Cosgrove Center...for helping keep people, families and children fed on cold days and for being willing to become the host for the Central Intake site.

Transitional Housing programs...for working to move people into stability during their own time.  Some people cannot be housed quickly.  They need time to get their life together.  They need time to get a skill that will lead to a job or get clean or get medical help for their past trauma.   Transitional shelters have a role in our society and should not be shuttered as HUD and Cuyahoga County are pushing. 

Putting families into housing...I am thankful for Habitat for Humanity and the City Mission program to place families with children directly into houses.  It is always amazing to see a child's face light up when they go into a new place to live.  When they have overcome so much living in a shelter and then realize they have a safe place to live is the best part of this job. 

First Call for Help/211...It is often overlooked, but having a phone number to call 2-1-1- or 436-2000 is an essential service that should be more valued by all the social service community.   Since no agency (except NEOCH) has humans answer the phones anymore, we should give more praise to this amazing service of answering the phone 24 hours a day.   The people over at United Way really care and know more than anyone what is really going on in the community.  They knew first that family homelessness was on the rise and that suburban hunger was getting out of control.  I am so thankful for First Call for Help.

HousingCleveland.org...Cleveland is one of only 2 communities in Ohio that helps low income people find housing without having to go through a case worker.  We have 800 units available today on the site and a database of 32,000 units.   It is a free service for both landlords (4,500 landlords use the service) and homeless people looking for housing.  It is an affordable service that 33 states have adopted. 

Toni Johnson...A veterans affairs employee who knows everything about homelessness.  She is out in the community keeping her ear to the ground about resources for her clients.  You will see her on the East Side and in East Cleveland.  She has contacts for children and 80 year old veterans.   We are so glad she is working to serve homeless people. 

The ID Collaborative...It took a hit this year with funding running out, but it is an amazing program.  It is a model for the United States and serves hundreds of people every year.  This should be considered an essential service funded before other programs.  It is amazing how one small piece of paper (birth certificate) or a card (State ID) can stop a person's life.   Without ID you can't vote, get into housing, get a job or get preventative health care.  We need the ID Collaborative to be healthy and fully funded. 

What are your ideas for what you are thankful for in the homeless community?  Submit in the comments section or in the discussion section of the website.  We will post other ideas on our blog.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Oct172014

Hand Up Gala 2014 Successful

A Unique Event to Provide a Fine Dining Meal to Homeless People in Cleveland

        The Hand Up Gala (not a Hand Out) was held on October 17 to celebrate 20 years of the Cosgrove Center serving hungry people in Cleveland. Unfortunately, the media did not show up to see what a beautiful spread the staff at Cosgrove put together.  We have a gallery of photos on our website and a few on our facebook page. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is a co-organizer of this event, and everyone I talked to enjoyed the event.  Ms. Loh, a member of the Homeless Congress, gave it an 8 out of 10, and we served over 200 homeless people.

      There were a lot of families with very young children at the event this year, which shows the huge increase in families over the last few years. The event could not be held without the hundreds of volunteers including Councilman Zach Reed and County Councilman Dale Miller pictured here.  Berghaus Flowers provided the center pieces decorated in fall colors, and we had two musicians, Amanda Walsh and Tom Hosna, who gave their time to make the event elegant.   There was a wonderful meal of chicken with an apple cranberry glaze prepared by Chef Sharon Delk and her staff.  Executive Caterers at Landerhaven provided the fine dining amenities that are not often experienced by members of the homeless community.

        Cosgrove Center has served hundreds of thousands over 20 years and is a critical component of the social safety net in Cleveland.  They are open in the extreme winter cold days and the hot July days so homeless people do not have to be on the streets during the day.  To assist with the celebration, politicians and board members of both NEOCH and Catholic Charities were on hand to act as greeters and servers.  We put together a program book to remember the Cosgrove Center and their 20 years which we will post online in the near future. 

       This year has been a year of celebration the Diocese of Cleveland’s Catholic Charities and the Bishop Cosgrove Center for twenty years of "Providing Help and Creating Hope.”  This event is also a fundraiser in which donors are entered into an auction of 30 local arts groups, sports organizations, and businesses who have offered tickets and gift certificates to support NEOCH and Cosgrove Center. We hope to raise funds to support the programming at the two organizations as we see more and more families showing up at our facilities looking for help.

    We will not be doing the drawing for the auction until October 29, so you still have time to participate.  You can make a donation on line or through the mailHere are the auction packages that we are distributing this year. This was the fifth Hand Up Gala and it went off without a hitch thanks to Nicole Evans and her fantastic staff.

    We have to thank the committee who worked since April to make this event special including Kimberly Miller, Nicole Evans, Randall York, Norman Wolfe, Gloria McCurdy, Sarah Novak, Terrel Valentine and Melissa Sirak.  Also, we have to thank Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Cleveland for funding the Cosgrove Center for 20 years and making day shelter an important part of the downtown community.  They have served millions of meals in those 20 years and provided hundreds of thousands bags of food to their neighbors all with a welcoming atmosphere of friendly staff.  It was a great event this year to celebrate the Cosgrove Center.  Thanks to Anthony Emory who came up from being a client to becoming a volunteer after finding stable housing for giving his testimonial about the value of Cosgrove Center at the event. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Monday
Aug252014

Cosgrove Center Celebrates 20 Years

A daytime drop in center is an essentialservice in the community.  It keeps people out of the heat and out of the cold in the winter.  They provide a place for other social service providers to meet with people in need of help.  Cosgrove provides a gathering place for holding community meetings.  Staff can give some advice to homeless people about where to find housing or a job or a key contact who may be able to solve their issues.  A daytime drop-in keeps people from wandering around and getting in trouble.  They usually involve the distribution of food and a place to get a shower and shave.  They are so valuable for the community, and on Friday we marked the 20th year of the Bishop William Cosgrove Center. 

I was surprised that there were not a larger number of social service providers and government folks present to help celebrate 20 years of the Cosgrove.  On August 22 in the afternoon, staff and volunteers of the Cosgrove Center hosted a Mass at St. Peters and a reception at the Center.  I was surprised that every shelter did not send representatives to thank the Cosgrove for helping keep their clients safe during the day.  The City, the Police, the local hospitals, United Way, and subsidized housing programs should all thank the Cosgrove for their valuable work keeping people safe.  It was a nice service with a few volunteers and current and former clients in attendance.  There were current and former staff who celebrated 20 years of service to the community.  They gave flowers and recognized Bill and Lillian Switaj, two retirees married for 59 years, who help serve the population and pick up bread every week (pictured here with Nicole presenting the couple an award).

Bishop Richard Lennon officiated a Mass at St. Peter's church next door and said a few words at the ceremony at the Cosgrove Center.  Chef Delk prepared a nice spread of finger food and appetizers for the group.  There were a couple of former Erieview Catholic High School graduates who attended to see the converted cafeteria as the 20 year home of the Cosgrove Center.  The staff were recognized for serving around 500 meals everyday and providing clothing to hundreds every month.   They assist with identification, rent, pantry food, eyeglasses, housing and medical insurance.  Partners such as Care Alliance, the Veterans Administration, Homeless Legal Assistance, and the Homeless Congress use the Cosgrove Center on a regular basis.  We heard from the head of Catholic Charities, Patrick Gareau who talked about the Cosgrove as the cornerstone of the effort to meet the housing and hunger needs of the community. 

There was a testimonial from a former guest, Dr. Woods, and Anthony Emery was taking pictures of the event.  This was a chance for the Cosgrove staff to thank their many supporters including funders and volunteers.  Nearly everyday there are local businesses or church groups in the kitchen helping to prepare the meal or clean up after the food is served.  The Cosgrove could not exist without the hundreds of volunteers who keep the program running.  They keep the place looking nice and they provide that extra care to the guests who often have no idea where they will lay their head that night.  This scared and fragile group who come to the Cosgrove everyday want to see a smiling volunteer or a confident staff member with a strong shoulder to cry on. 

We recognize the valuable role of the Cosgrove Center in our community and congratulate them on 20 years of helping.   Next up in recognizing the work of the Cosgrove Center is the Hand up Gala set for October 17, 2014. You can click on the Hand Up Gala logo on many of the NEOCH website pages to see the details of the celebration. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Wednesday
Jul302014

Bishop Cosgrove Center is 20 Years Old

I really like the Cosgrove Center, and believe that it is one of the hidden gems of Greater Cleveland.  The Cosgrove Center was a toddler when I started working at NEOCH, and they have always hired people with a deep personal mission to end poverty.  They take a great deal of care for everyone who walks in the door no matter their past crimes, mistakes, misjudgments or sins. They always have a place for you at the table.  Cosgrove staff take care of families, elderly, veterans and the unemployed.  They have volunteers almost every day helping with the food, serving or cleaning up.  They have professionals like Ms. Valentine and Ms. Evans who can provide good advice for where to get help in our community. 

After serving over 2 million hot meals and hundreds of thousands of pantry bags and providing thousands of identification vouchers, they are celebrating 20 years.  They are having a mass on August 22 that we have previously advertised here.  We are co-sponsoring the 5th Hand Up Gala on October 17 this year with the Cosgrove Center, and you can find more information on that here or by clicking on the Hand Up Gala 5 logo on most of our web pages.  Finally, if you want to help celebrate the Cosgrove Center's 20th Anniversary, you can take out an advertisement in the Hand Up Gala Program Book

We are putting together a Book for this year's Gala that will contain some history, a feature on one of the guests and will contain the menu for the event this year.  Everyone who volunteers or attends will get a copy of the book.  We will also have the book on our website.  It will have Congratulatory advertisements throughout the book from partner agencies, local businesses, and religious groups who want to thank the Cosgrove for all they do in the community.  Check out the page on our website about the advertisement book for more details. Give us a call (216-432-0540) or send us an e-mail [neoch (at) neoch (dot)org. ] if you want to place an ad in the program book.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Saturday
Jul052014

Cosgrove Renovations and Celebration

You don't realize how valuable the day shelters are in the community until they are closed for renovations.  This week the Bishop Cosgrove Center is closed until July 18 to put in some much needed renovations of the kitchen area in place for the 20th anniversary.  Cosgrove Center was opened in 1994, and they have a series of events this year culminating in the fifth Hand Up Gala in October.

On Friday August 22, they are having a Mass and reception at 3 p.m at St. Peter's Church celebrated by Bishop Richard Lennon to mark 20 years.  The Cosgrove is asking those who plan to attend to RSVP to Kimberly Miller by calling 216/781-8262.  The program has served millions of meal and hundreds of thousands of individuals over the last 20 years.  There are thousands of volunteers (both corporate and religious) who have served a meal at the Bishop Cosgrove Center over the last few decades. They give out identification and assist people to find affordable housing.  They help with pantry food to the neighbors who are struggling to pay the bills.  They are always available with a shoulder to cry or some sound advice on where to find help.  At one time, the women's shelter was at Cosgrove and for a little over a year they were offering a dinner a the Cosgrove.  They serve a vital function within the landscape of Cleveland. 

We had the Homeless Congress meeting today with a light crowd because the Cosgrove was closed and we were stood up again by City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland.  The Community Centers, Libraries and Hands On NEO volunteers have been helping to provide food and a space for people normally at Cosgrove Center.  They have also seen a large number of families using the day shelter services this summer, and staff have been trying negotiate peace among all the different guests using the facility. Sharon, the chef at Cosgrove, serves around 85 breakfasts and around 180 lunches everyday.   The provide a cooling center in the summer and a place out of the snow every weekday during the winter.   Cosgrove staff host really nice meals for some of the major holidays, and we look forward to them reopening after the renovation.  They don't get enough credit or appreciation, but I know that homeless and low income people care deeply about the Cosgrove Center. 

by Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry