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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 NCH (18)


Hate Crimes Report Issued by NCH

The National Coalition for the Homeless has recently published No Safe Street: A Survey of Hate Crimes and Violence Committed Against Homeless People in 2014 & 2015. The report finds that over the last 17 years, at least 1,657 people experiencing homelessness have been victims of violent hate crimes, including 428 people who were murdered. In 2014-2015 alone, there were 192 documented violent hate crimes against homeless individuals, with 58 incidents being fatal. No Safe Street demonstrates a clear correlation between laws criminalizing homelessness and the increase of hate crimes against homeless people. California and Florida's cities have passed the most laws criminalizing homelessness in recent years, and also experienced the highest numbers of hate crimes against homeless individuals in 2014-2015. 

We've looked at the National Coalition's report and taken out the relevant information regarding anti-homeless hate crimes in Ohio. In the past 17 years, there have been 85 documented incidents of violence against people experiencing homelessness in Ohio, with 5 of those incidents occuring in 2014-2015. Ohio has some of the highest levels of hate crimes against homeless individuals, behind only California, Florida, and Texas. 

In Ohio:


Number of Documented Incidents






Narratives of Hate Crimes against the Homeless in Ohio:

Columbus, Ohio

***September, 19th: “Carl Quiller, 19, is charged with murder after shooting three homeless people, killing one. He shot Carlos Aguilar, 48, in the arm, and Gertrude Hall, 51, in her face and back, before shooting and killing Thomas Henson, 63, who was sleeping in his truck. Quiller was arrested after making a call to 911, claiming he found Henson. During the call, he sounded like he was trying to save Henson’s life, saying, “Stay awake man…There’s a big hole in his pillow laying up against his head. So, I’d imagine he got shot in the head.” The police who found a gun and ammunition that matched those used in both crimes searched Quiller’s home. Quiller was also found to have had a violent crime history: at 13, he was arrested for assault, rape at 14, robbery at 15, and another assault at 16.”  

Dayton, Ohio

****October, 1st: “Earl Horn was on his way to a shelter when a pair of dogs viciously attacked him, and the owner took off and left him in the field. He was walking through the park when he noticed the two dogs, one brown and white, the other black, running through the field. He called to the owner and asked if the dogs were okay, but “before (he) knew it they charged (him)”… Horn was able to call 911 and ask for help. The dogs and owner are still unidentified.

****March, 7th: Ronald Baird, 51, was attacked by three teenage boys, 14, 15 and 17 years of age.”

Cincinnati, Ohio

****July 27th: Three individuals assaulted John Hensley, 49, with one of the assailants later stating that he committed the attack because he was bored. The attack happened, as Hensley was exiting a drop-in center and lasted for 15 minutes. A staff member of the drop-in center alerted police officers and all perpetrators were detained and charged with misdemeanor assault.

Zanesville, Ohio

****February 12th: Two homeless individuals were assaulted by Estep, 27. Estep faces ten years in prison after taking a plea bargain.

National Statistics:


National Groups Cold Response to Loss of Funding

NCH Board/staff meet with HUD officialsHere is the take from the National Alliance to End Homelessness on the recently announced HUD funding cuts. NAEH has sadly turned into the leading public relations firm for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

"Overall, more people will be housed instead of homeless due to these results. More new projects than usual got funding, and more existing projects than usual lost funding. As a group, the newly funded projects will house more people than the projects that lost funding, because of more focus on exactly that outcome – housing people. The wellbeing of homeless people and the desire to solve the problem of homelessness are driving this change."

In Cleveland, we unexpectedly lost Y-Haven serving 113 people two weeks ago.  We have heard a great deal of anger around the country from groups in Indiana, Florida, Baltimore, Mississippi, and Mesa ArizonaNew York City has been overwhelmed with family homelessness leading to record numbers, but they were cut.  Honolulu declared a "state of emergency," but they were not immune to the cuts for those with a disability.  This was the result of HUD prioritizing housing over transitional shelters.  It is the opinion of the "experts" that transitional housing programs screen out too many homeless people and they take too long to place people into housing.  This is another step toward HUD funding exclusively housing programs while no other federal agency (Health and Human Services) picks up the slack to fund the emergency of being homeless in America.  It is cold comfort to the man who loses housing on the rainy streets of Cleveland that they are stuffed into a church on a mat on the floor because the transitional shelter beds have lost funding. 

We found out the Y-Haven will be able to survive the loss of federal funding.  They are moving to Medicaid funding and have received a lot of support from admirers since the story appeared in the Plain Dealer.  The director has assured advocates and Cuyahoga County that the program will survive after the ADAMHS Board, YMCA, and other local groups have stepped up to help.   The reason that they were cut was that they honestly completed their application claiming that the shelter focused on recovery so had a screening process for those who are working on alcohol and drug issues.  This eliminated some of the homeless population from entering and HUD objected to this screening tool or degree of specialization.  The Salvation Army PASS program is the last standing in Cuyahoga County to receive federal dollars.  We hope that they are preparing for a 2017 budget cut.  

The statement from the National Alliance was heartless and misguided.  There was this loud cry from the field from around the Country asking, "Why did HUD cut our local homeless programs?"  NAEH shot back don't worry the new funding will help more people in the local community.  It was like a federal agency commenting on the impacts of global warming on cities which will most likely flood, "Don't worry, we have planes ready to transport your most vulnerable to Omaha or Topeka."   Thanks, but that is not what we need.  HUD funded rapid rehousing programs which give short term rental assistance and intake centers throughout the country instead of existing transitional programs.  The disabled guy in a wheel chair with a criminal background needs a place to sleep tonight not after a couple of weeks of paperwork, finding a landlord and hoping that accept a voucher for only three months guaranteed rent.  Yes, you will serve more people, but not with the type of service that the local community needs.  The family with two young children or the youth who is couch surfing every night needs a bed to sleep in tonight not a promise for rental assistance in three weeks. 

Yes, there was more competition for the limited dollars, because once again our Congress is not doing its job. They are creating more problems then they are solving.  They delay, deny and put demands on the local community that is only exacerbating the problems of poverty.  In the past, communities had to pit shelters, services and housing programs against each other locally to receive their full allocation.  They ranked the programs and those at the bottom were lost.  Communities got smart and figured out how to play this game, and so now programs were forced to compete against programs at the national level with this horrible tiered funding system.   It certainly does not promote cooperation or solving homelessness as a community.  It promotes distrust and local programs distorting their programs to meet national goals while dismissing local priorities.  It does not matter that Cleveland is seeing opiate deaths or more people released from prison who cannot go back to their houses and need more time to find stable places to live.  We have to skip the shelters and move people into housing.  It does not matter that our family and women's shelter are seeing huge numbers, HUD and their public relations firm NAEH know best. 

The homeless veterans programs have made tremendous progress over the last five years by doing exactly the opposite of how HUD is working on addressing homelessness. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.



Local Reports from National Coalition Meeting

 The best part of the National Coalition for the Homeless meeting is hearing from other communities what is happening locally.  There are a lot of tremendous ideas and amazing advocacy going on in the local community.  This last meeting was held in Denver and we already posted some observations about Denver and Colorado.  Here are some highlights from what is going on around the country from NCH Board members. 


  • Struggling with trying to maintain state funding for homelessness and affordable housing with a tough budget.
  • Activists are working on fair housing issues within the state to rebalance the home ownership rate in Minnesota which is one of the lowest in the Country for African Americans.

Chicago, IL

  • The Homeless Bill of Rights passed the State (one of only three).
  • Agreement on sweeps by the police that resulted in throwing items away for those resistant to shelter.  Police will give one week notice before a "clean-up."
  • Working with re-entry folks on human trafficing issues.  Pilot program with the housing authority for trafficked women to get into housing.
  • Working on additional funding for affordable housing.
  • They had a setback in an SRO law passed which makes it difficult to transfer ownership because of neighborhoods gentrifying and wanting to eliminate low cost housing.
  • Fighting for a $13 minimum wage.


  • Indianapolis Mayor vetoed their bill of rights passed by the City Council.
  • Large HIV outbreak in the southern part of the state--started an emergency needle exchange program and are working with trafficked women to try to limit spread. 

Sacremento, CA

  • Increase city trust fund to $25 million
  • Working on coordinated exit planning from various publicly funded programs.  They also have an employment collaboration working with homeless agencies.
  • Working on a better system for serving those addicted with a more "on-demand" system.
  • Statewide homeless bill of rights did not have the votes will be re-introduced in January 2016.
  • They did the DC criminalization survey  and found 75% of those surveyed had been arrested or threatened with arrest for purely innocent behavior of being homeless.
  • 2,900 anti-camping citations issued in Sacramento from 2012 to 2014.

Sentencing Project (national)

  • US leads the world in incarcerated individuals by large numbers. 
  • They have become involved in the Black Lives Matter campaign because of the relevance to their goals of bringing justice to the judicial system especially in cities. 
  • There is a true bipartisan effort to reform sentencing esp. for drugs.  The right wants to look at cost savings and the left is looking at justice.  Trying to limit excessive sentencing and look back at previous over sentencing.


  • The Coalition in Little Rock is barely hanging on and trying to speak up when necessary.

Austin, Texas

  • Gathering stats around the interaction between police and homeless people.
  • Sued the City over landlords not taking Section 8 voucher program under anti-discrimination law.

Atlanta, GA

  • 250 beds closed over last four years.
  • Now the men's shelter has had to serve 60 to 100 families every night with mats on the floor.
  • No new housing being developed locally, and last year 30,000 applied to the housing choice voucher program.
  • Working on fair housing complaint against HUD over loss of shelter locally.
  • Still working to resolve the ownership of the big shelter
  • Working with LGBT you to expand access to shelter.


  • No Medicare expansion and the indigent care has created a huge hole in the state budget.
  • Serious funding problems for services to the mentally ill.
  • Housing Trust fund is raided every year. 
  • Orlando has a new commission on homelessness that is working on putting together funds for Permanent Supportive Housing.
  • Working with the Veterans Administration on their "vulnerability index."


  • Formed a new regional Continuum of Care with the Mayors around the City of Jackson.
  • Purging the Public Housing Waiting list to get rid of the names that have been on there for seven to nine years and they are starting fresh.
  • Creating food gardens with some of the social service providers, and more groups are using food bank assistance to get fresh food.

Puerto Rico

  • The territory or commonwealth is nearing bankruptcy, which puts a strain on all public services.
  • They are trying to encourage billionaires to live in Puerto Rico and pay taxes.
  • The Bloomberg consulting group has been working with cities on urban issues including San Juan, and has a draconian approach to serving homeless people.  Basically involves shipping them out.
  • Trying to reform the police and teach them how to not violate the rights of homeless people. 
  • Ever increasing numbers of homeless people seeking help. 
  • Talked about the WBEZ/This American Life radio program about the relocation of addicts to non-licensed facilities in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York City.  These men get stuck in the cities and have no way to return to the island.  


  • The Right to Rest bill has galvanized Denver's homeless population around this law.
  • The Denver auditor criticize the City for not meeting its goals to end homelessness that they signed 10 years ago.  Declared that there were not measurable outcomes and little progress.  Also criticized the city for enforcing a "no camping" ordinance as more costly than effective.
  • Denver increased population and no vacancies has created a rental crisis and causing rents to increase.
  • Denver is trying out social impact bonds with 300 frequent flyers in the jails to provide housing alternatives and any savings in law enforcement/court fees would go to the investors in the bonds.   

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Bill Introduced to Change the Definition of Homelessness

In an effort to capture the number of young people who do not go into shelter, the Senate has proposed a new bill to reform the way homeless people are counted.  Al Jazeera America did a really nice story about the issue.  We had this fight 10 years ago when the HEARTH Act was being debated.  Advocates from the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Youth  wanted to align the definition of homelessness with the Department of Education definition. 

The DoE uses a standard definition that we all think about when we think of homelessness.  The HUD definition does not include those doubled up, coming out of jail, those within a few days of homelessness or those who regularly staying in a motel.  Advocates from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the Corporation for Supportive Housing and staff of HUD hated this idea to have one broad definition of homelessness.  They felt that it would triple the population of homelessness overnight. It would make it impossible to count during their annual point in time counts.  All the successes claimed by the Permanent Supportive housing movement would be lost with the stroke of a pen.  What administration wants to be in office and preside over a time when homelessness increased by 200 to 300 percent in one year? 

A compromise was struck by maintaining the HUD definition for most of the programs with additional hoops to jump through in order to be able to use a small piece of the federal funding to serve young people or families.  This compromise is obviously not working, and so now Congress has proposed a change. NEOCH supports this change in the law to align the definitions of homelessness across the federal agencies.  We oppose the Point in Time count as a huge waste of time, and we are not sure that the 100,000 homes created over the last five years are meeting the need of our most disabled and long term homeless people. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


Ft. Lauderdale: Center of Hate Toward the Poor

Ft. Lauderdale officials are taking heat world wide for the arrest of a 90 year old chef and two religious leaders for the crime of feeding low income and homeless people.  They approved a series of anti-homeless measures with the most prominent outlawing the serving of food outside without a permit.  Comedian Stephen Colbert roasted the City last night mocked the Mayor for arresting this "perp", Arnold Abbott, for carrying the dangerous weapon of food.

  "So clearly he knows what Jesus said in Matthew. 'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.  I was thirsty and--look out! The cops are here! Hide the Loaves and Fishes!' And I am glad...they eventually caught up with him."

The National Coalition for the Homeless Sent a letter to the Mayor asking for a re-evaluation of the legislation. 

[Full Disclosure:  I helped in the drafting of the NCH letter.] Most are focusing on the anti-feeding law and that is appropriate, but there are four other laws including the prohibition against a homeless person to sit down in the public space that are just as offensive.   These laws go back to the 1990s when cities were using law enforcement to try to "solve" homelessness.  They have failed and in fact, most cities found it only increased the number of homeless people.  Repeatedly ticketing homeless people make them unemployable and unable to engage a lease for housing.  We have also seen the correlation between a rise in hate crimes directed at homeless people when cities begin to pass laws directed at those without housing.  Ft. Lauderdale, by preventing people from being able to eat, goes to the front of the line in legislating hate against a fragile population.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

By the way if you want to express your concern over these extreme laws here is the Mayor's e-mail:  Send us a copy of the e-mail if you decide to write neoch (at) neoch (dot) org.