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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.

The Cleveland Street Chronicle
Jim Schlecht Event

Entries in homeless deaths (10)


What Can We Do About Indigent Burials?

In response to an inquiry regarding a homeless guy who died and his disabled parents do not have the funds to bury or cremate their son, First Call for Help staff sent this:

The general rule about indigent deaths is the municipality where the individual died is responsible for the burial (via Ohio state law In Cuyahoga County, the Cleveland Dept. of Public Health administers the program. Municipalities may decide how to address this need, but they don't have to offer burial.

Attached is info. on the process in Cuyahoga County. The phone number to reach the Cleve Dept. of Vital Statistics is 216-664-2317. Note that if you call to leave a message, their voice mail does NOT mention indigent burial, but it is the office to contact.  Also notice that there is no funeral available, just cremation services in Cleveland.

Also wondered if this person is a veteran. If so, might contact the Veterans Service Commission 1-866-915-8387.  They do help with funds for an indigent veteran and the burial.

Finally, I have a call in to St. Ignatius to double check this, but my understanding regarding their pallbearer ministry is that they provide youth to assist with pallbearer duties, but typically do not have funds available to help.

Here is the specific listing in the database:


601 Lakeside Ave. Rm. 122  Cleveland, OH  44114

(216) 664-2317   Voice

(216) 664-2315   Recorded Information Line

(216) 420-7596   FAX




REQUESTED SERVICE: Cremation Services


(216) 664-2317 Voice: No mention of cremation on voice mail.

SITE DESCRIPTION:Maintains and issues certified copies of vital records for the city of Cleveland and most suburbs in Cuyahoga County.


TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS: Nearest intersection is Lakeside Ave. and E 6th St.  There is public transportation to this site.

WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBILITY: ALL services accessible or available. This site has an accessible restroom.

SERVICE DESCRIPTION:  Provides cremation for deceased who do not have the financial means to pay for private death services. Will not supplement family's money. Viewing, burial, and memorial services are not available. Family of indigent deceased individuals has up to 90 days following cremation to claim ashes of the deceased.

HOW SERVICE IS PROVIDED:  On-site. Dept. will arrange with private contractor to handle.

WHO QUALIFIES:  Deceased individuals who do not have the financial means to pay for private services. Deceased must have had no life insurance and have been a resident of Cleveland for at least one year prior to their death.

HOURS OF SERVICE:  M-F: 8:00am-4:00pm

FEES:  Family of deceased individuals who were residents of the city of Cleveland may receive ashes free.


HOW TO ACCESS:  Phone for information and availability M-F: 8:00am-4:00pm.


Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


A Rough Day in Cleveland Due to the Weather

We had a great plan.  We had so many people working to protect the poorest of our citizens in Cleveland.  We had safety forces, government, and social services all working together to help.  Yet we still lost someone due to the cold. Monday and Tuesday night and Tuesday during the day, we had many teams of workers and volunteers out working to protect people living on the streets.   We offered thermal sleeping gear, blankets, tents, handwarmers, shelter spaces and even nights in a hotel.  There were about a dozen people who refused to come inside no matter what we did.  Then there was one gentleman who we did not find and he passed away.   We have a hard time interacting with people who stay in abandoned buildings.   It is impossible to go on private property and check all these abandoned buildings.   We lost a member of the homeless community who froze to death while squatting in an abandoned house that we were not aware was living in that part of town.

There were outreach workers travelling outside last night from 6 to 10 p.m.  We gave out hundreds of blankets over the last few days.  The streets of Cleveland were deserted over the last two nights.   We know that a couple of homeless people went into the recreation centers that stayed openon Monday night and staffed by the Red Cross.  Most people went into the shelters and every shelter bed was full with three overflow shelters operational.  The Metanoia project brought scores of people inside who would be staying outside in the cold if they were not open.  But with all this human capital and resources going to protect people, we still lost one. 

There are so many different reasons people are on the streets.  There are hundreds of reasons people reject living in the shelters.  There is mental illness, a rejection of charity, pride, alcoholism, anger, fear, and on and on and so many more.   We did everything we could, but we could not be everywhere. 

Tuesday was a rough day for homeless people and for local social service providers.  I know that a number of the staff who showed up to help were dealing with their own issues back at their own homes.  Some had water pipes breaking at their house, but they were working to save lifes at the centers.  Some had their furnace go out and still went in to help people.  Some had their cars die in the cold while they were helping people with the meals.  The temperature at NEOCH was 52 degrees on Tuesday, but we still stayed hours to follow up on calls for help or for those in need of a ride.  Even with everyone communicating and all the resources and all the donations given out we still lost one person.  It is tough working in the shelters. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry



Names of those Who Passed Posted on our Site 2014

Thanks to Jay Westbrook as one of his last acts of official business provided a few remarks for our Homeless Memorial Day 2013.  The event was at St. Malachi on December 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. as the Metanoia project was getting started for the night.  We had Rev. Dr George Jackson from Agape Renaissance Center and Fr. Tony Schuerger of St. Malachi both offering prayers for those who passed away.  Jim Schlecht of Metanoia Project read the names of those who passed away, and I gave a brief look at the current state of homelessness.  We have a video on the front of our website of the entire service.  We also have a posted the names on our Memorial Section of our website.  

This is one of the saddest, but we consider one of the most important events of the year for the Coalition.   Homeless people are often forgotten in our society, and the least we can do is remember those people on their death.   We spend the last two months of the year gathering names from every social service provider and from homeless people.  This year, there were 20 fewer names read when compared to 2012 which is good news.  We had a very nice turnout of homeless people, housing activists, social service providers, members of the Coalition and board members who attended the memorial service. This is the 27th Candlelight Vigil in Cleveland.  From the beginnings on the cold winter days of December on Public Square to Trinity Cathedral and St. Paul's in Cleveland Hts. and St. Patricks church, we have held these vigils throughout the community.   We have read hundreds of names over the years and brought people together to mark a moment of silence in remembering our brothers and sisters we lost. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


City Wide Vigil for Those Killed in Police Rage Incident

Pastor Jerome Hurst is coordinating a City-Wide-Prayer, which will take place on January 15, 2013 to remember Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams.  This is the actual date of birth of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.--an appropriate day to remember the death of two homeless people.  Please plan to attend and support the family in their effort to bring everyone together to pray and to pressure the government for justice.  The prayer vigil is at the Southeast Seventh Day Adventist Church on January 15, 2013 at 7 p.m.   The Southeast Seventh Day Adventist Church is at 16602 Tarkington Ave. near Karruish Park off of Lee Road.  Both families ask that you attend this interfaith prayer session.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


We Remember Those Who Died

On December 21, 2012, NEOCH along with 105 cities in the United States remembered those who passed away over the past year.  We have honored those by reading the names for the past 26 years, and 2012 we read the largest number of names in our history with 74 individuals passing.  Some of the shelters that typically report one or two names had 12 names.   We had suicides, murders, and most passing from the hardships of living without a home.  We did not get all the ages, but from the one third that we did receive the median age of those who passed away was 46 years 2 months old.  With the sleep deprivation, the high cholesterol food, and the stress, homelessness really takes a toll on your life expectancy.  

We were honored to have State Represenative Nickie Antonio attend and say a few words to the 120 people who attended the memorial.  It was nice that a number of providers from the Veterans Administration, West Side Catholic, Care Alliance, 2100 Lakeside attended the memorial.  We also had Ruth Gillett from the County Office of Homeless Services and Doug Shelby from HUD attend to light a candle in honor of those who passed away.  Fr. Tony from St. Malachi (pronounced Mal-a-key in the Irish tradition) blessed those who had died.  Rev. Charlie Hurst from First Presbyterian and Charlene Higginbotham from Euclid Ave Congregational all said prayers for those we lost over the last year.  We had some prominent deaths including Patricia Jackson who slept outside for years on the West Side of Cleveland, Timothy and Malissa who were killed by police in East Cleveland, and David Simmons who had volunteered for a number of programs after finding housing.  We have to thank the Metanoia Project for all their help in allowing us to hold the memorial at their site this year.  Metanoia is a winter overnight drop in site that opens the doors of St. Malachi to keep people resistent to shelter safe during the weekend, holidays and during snow storms.  They open at 7 p.m. and provide a warm place, food, programs and a quiet place out of the snow.  Thanks to Carl, Tim, Jim, and the rest of the staff and volunteers for providing this critical service in our community.

We have posted the list of names on our memorial page, and we will keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers as we enter a new year.