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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.

Homeless Voting

Entries in homeless deaths (9)


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

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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

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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

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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. 


NCH Announces 2012 Hate Crimes Report

2011 was one of the most dangerous years for homeless people in the United States according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The National Homeless Hate Crimes report was issued this last week. 

  • 1,289 reported acts of bias motivated violence have been committed against homeless
    individuals between 1999-2011.
  • 339 homeless individuals lost their lives as a result of the attacks.
  • Reported violence has occurred in 47 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, DC

The violence continues, and with thirty-two known deaths, 2011 ranks in the top-five deadliest years for attacks on homeless people over the past thirteen years, and with one hundred and five attacks, ranks as the sixth most violent year since NCH began tracking the violence in 1999. NCH has found startling data in the number and severity of attacks. However, the reports also acknowledge that since the homeless community is treated so poorly in our society, many more attacks go unreported. Hate crimes against the homeless community is a growing wave in need of public attention.

Ohio was again identified as the third most violent state in the United States behind California and Washington state.  One bright spot was that after many years of leading the national Florida has fallen out of the top five.  There were 32 attacks that led to the death of a homeless person.  Ohio was listed as the fourth most dangerous state over the last dozen years. Fortunately, none of the deaths in 2011 occurred in Ohio.  

The non-lethal attacks in Ohio occured in Enid, Elyria, Columbus, Toledo and two incidents in Cleveland Ohio.   One incident in January 2011 was a library guard attacking a homeless person, and then an incident in July was referenced in which two young people attacked a homeless guy with a shopping cart on Public Square.   The complete report can be found here

There is a renewed effort to get a bill passed in Congress to ask the Justice Department to begin to keep track of these hate crimes and report on those to Congress.  Unfortunately, at this point law enforcement does not report these crimes as a hate crime to the FBI.  Even though the number of hate crimes outpace every other population protected by federal hate crimes, it is not recognized by the US government.   These are terrible crimes in which vulnerable innocent people are attacked just because they are outside and a symbol of our inability in the United States to provide an adequate safety net.  It is a real sign of the violent times we currently live. 

Brian Davis

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