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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.

Entries in outreach (49)

Wednesday
Apr292015

Denver And Homelessness

The National Coalition for the Homeless met in Denver Colorado for their twice yearly face to face meeting and held a conference on criminalization of homelessness.  Denver is one of the 25 largest cities in America, and has made some progress on homelessness in America, but has a long way to go.  It is the state capital so there are far more resources available in Denver than other Colorado cities, but there are many people sleeping outside.  There is no guaranteed access to shelter like in New York and Cleveland. 

The police regularly ask homeless people to move along, but never answer the question, "to where?"   There are many who travel through Denver to greener pastures.  I met a man who was sleeping outside from Bangor Maine by way of Washington and Chicago who was deciding on whether to stay or move on.  The outreach teams had tried to work with him in his first three weeks in Denver which is more than happens in most cities.  There also seems to be a growing number of people migrating to Denver because of the recreational marijuana, which is a far more expensive of a habit than cigarettes.  Housing is extremely expensive with supply not matching demand.  They have far fewer abandoned properties when compared to most Midwestern cities, but they do exist. 

Denver has many more laws on the books restricting homeless people and a pretty strict panhandling law.  They do have a pretty amazing healthcare for the homeless operation with five clinics, including a brand new clinic attached to their permanent supportive housing project with dental services and a complete pharmacy.  I was impressed with the level of care delivered to homeless people with an attempt to make the healthcare for the homeless clinics a medical home for low income people.  They screen people who come in for mental health issues while they are assessing their physical health needs.  People do not have to make appointments somewhere else and then face other challenges such as timing and transportation.  The new Denver health care for the homeless clinic has a huge and respectful waiting area and a seamless process to apply for housing once they have sought healthcare assistance. 

In Cleveland, most of the services are built around the shelters and even with Coordinated intake those staying at shelter are easiest to find and usually get access before those waiting on the streets.  In Denver, the system seems to be centered around health care as the first point of contact for most.  Those without housing seem to look healthier than I have seen in the Midwest or the East Coast.  I don’t know if this is from the amount of walking necessary in western cities or the number of farm and domestic workers among the homeless population.  Transportation is much more accessible in Denver when compared to Cleveland but not like DC, NYC or Boston. 

Denver is a clean city, but about three times the number of people sleeping outside compared to Cleveland.  There are no where near the numbers of people living outside as Washington DC, San Francisco or Boston.  There were a number of grassroots organizations helping to provide a voice to those living in shelters or on the streets.  There was not a real advocacy Coalition focused on the needs of homeless people and providing input to government or the social service community.   This is not unusual for a capital city where advocacy groups get overshadowed by the State Coalitions and all the money and resources goes to state efforts.  There is not the tradition to organizing in union cities like Cleveland, Philadelphia and Chicago.  So, there is not a strong tenant association or commitment to organizing low income residents of the city. 

They are making progress and have built large numbers of affordable housing units reserved for homeless people.  They have permanent supportive housing for families which most cities have not found the ability to fund.  They are working on funding a law enforcement diversion program which is supposed to save the city money over incarceration.  Finally, there are horror movie scary Mimes performing in Downtown Denver, which is unsettling, but at least they are not dressed as clowns. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry

Tuesday
Apr072015

Donations Still Needed

We made it through the horrible winter.  We had a report of one person suffering from frost bite and losing fingers, but no reports of people freezing to death.  We have to thank Community West Foundation for helping with all the donations and helping with putting people into motels during the extreme weather.  It was tough, but outreach teams, St. Pauls, Labre and Metanoia did a ton of work keeping people safe.  

It is spring and still a dangerous time.  Hypothermia is still a threat because people get wet and then it gets cold at night.  They may have prepared for the winter and the snow, and may let their guard down for the spring.  They may not have as many blankets or plastic or clothing as they had for the winter.  We are still collecting and distributing items. We have updated our flyer for the spring and that is available to print out and distribute. We give out items to the outreach teams every week. 

Flyer to print out and distribute

Friday
Mar272015

Teach In Last Week on the Importance of Outreach

We had a really nice open house at Winton on Lorain last week to see how wonderful these units are for the community.  We had presentations by EDEN and Frontline Services and many of the outreach workers in the community.  The highlight of the evening was with Roy and Mike talked about moving from the streets into housing.  They both talked about the importance of Jim Schlecht for helping to find their way into housing. 

County Council persons Dale Miller and Yvonne Conwell both attended to hear about this critical resource in the community.  Both Roy and Mike spent years on the streets, both turned to alcohol or drugs to cope and both were able to make it through a year of recovery. Winton on Lorain is right next to the VA transitional housing program, and that corner near the freeway has dramatically approved over the last 10 years. 

It was quite an education provided by Toni Johnson and Denise Toth who spoke about how valuable outreach is in the community.  They talked about building trusting relationships and not giving up on the people outside.  All the outreach teams talked about the difficult times many of these guys have in finding help.  The guys talked about the huge hills they had to climb to get back into housing.  We will have the next Teach In during the lunch hour and hopefully others will be able to attend. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Sunday
Mar222015

SocksPlus Update

R.A Washington, poet

There was a really nice fundraiser last week at 78th Street Studio a facility that I had no idea existed in Cleveland.  Spending most of my existence on the East Side, I cannot understand how I missed this place.  It is a giant warehouse full of artists from all different media.  It is definitely worth a walk through.  Thanks to RA Washington, Katie Daily, and Russell Vidrick for performing poetry at the #SocksPlus benefit last week.   I recorded Vidrick years ago when I did a poetry show on WRUW-FM 91.1 so it was nice to see him again. 

Community West Foundation also held a #SocksPlus campaign this weekend in the Gordon Square area.  We are nearing the end of the second round of boots and backpacks that we are distributing on the streets of Cleveland.  We are purchasing new items for the upcoming month. We are focusing on keeping people dry over the next few months.  We will have a backpack and boots but also rain ponchos, sleeping bags and tents available. We are still working on building relationships with people to get them inside.

Katie Daily, poet

We received a large number of hygiene items from Fairview Hospital this last week.  People have been dropping off socks at the Community West Foundation and sending it to both us from Amazon.com.  We received blankets from Pat Catans and some additional panels to be made into additional blankets.  People have dropped off comforters, and winter items.  We have delivered boxes of clothing to the Cosgrove Center for their weekly giveaways.  We have also involved a couple of additional partners to giveaway the items.  Last weekend, we had a family drop off backpacks full of small gifts and hygiene items for homeless people.   And we are still getting blankets for our blanket drive.  We gave a little over 100 blankets to 2100 Lakeside this week. 

One item that we have not gotten as many as we had hoped through our blanket drive is towels or wash cloths.  Many of the outreach workers have been calling asking for towels, but we really have not seen many donated this week.  We are still doing the blanket drive for another month. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Friday
Mar062015

#SocksPlus Benefit for Winter/Spring Items

In the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood at the 78th St. Studio (north of Detroit Ave.) on March 20 the Community West Foundation has organized a poetry slam and photo display. This show will raise funds for the Socks Plus campaign.  We have distributed the first batch of backpacks with boots and socks and we are waiting for the second batch of boots (delayed two weeks).  We are putting in our order for another round of cold weather gear and clothing to keep people dry.  We were also able to keep 12 people safe over the last two weeks of the extreme cold by using some of these funds to put the hardest of our cases into rooming houses. 

Hope that you can attend this fundraiser to support the SocksPlus campaign. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.