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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 sleeping outside. (9)


Blanket Drive Starts Now

It is that time of year to help us out collect items for out blanket drive.  We have set a goal of 3,000 blankets this year.  We are going to ask our members for help as well as local businesses, unions and religious groups who might have congregants or employees collect items for those resistant to shelter.

We have a flyer available at the bottom of this entry that you can use to print out or distribute to family or employees.  We also have a webpage dedicated to the blanket drive here.  We collect blankets and donations at our office then give them to the outreach workers in the community.  We give to Care Alliance staff, Frontline Services, Metanoia, Labre and Volunteers of America and others.  We give to the people who are developing relationships with those living outside. 

This year we have an outreach trainee, Denise, who is working with people who are reluctant to go to shelter.  She is learning about all the resources available to homeless people and all the programs that may be able to help.  The trainee position is funded by the Community West Foundation and they have blogged about our blanket drive here.  She will be working with the religious groups who minister to the people living outside and then attempting to connect with the "professional" organizations.  Denise will be distributing these winter items to the veterans, couples and homeless individuals trying to stay warm this winter.  By the way, the last trainee, Tyrone, our previous trainee, was hired by Care Alliance as their afternoon/evening staff. 

We can come and pick up donations if there are more than 35 items.   Just call 432-0540 to make arrangements.  We are near Cleveland State University and you can drop off donations anytime between 9 and 4:30 p.m.   We also have some Saturday hours.

Blanket Donation Flyer to print out and distribute.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


August 7 Teach In

We are planning an event to highlight the amazing work of the outreach teams.  We want to show off the amazing Permanent Supportive Housing Programs in Cleveland and the impact they have on people's lives.  We will hear from a couple of residents and then have the ability to go see where these guys came from by visiting their former campsites. We would welcome that you join us.  We just ask that you RSVP to attend.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Fund to Help those Burnt Out in the Flats

We are closely watching the Flats area to see if there are additional fires or trouble for those living in the area.   We have had a couple of people report someone going through and stealing items from tents before the arrests were made two weeks ago.  We did get a few calls from concerned citizens who want to help those who are sleeping down in the Flats.  Our new outreach in training worker can distribute items collected at the Coalition offices at 3631 Perkins Ave. third floor.  If you are interested in helping to replace some of the items lost, here are a few suggestions:

  • The gentlemen need tents of any kind.
  • They could use bus passes to get around.
  • They need bug spray and bottled water.
  • Blankets are always helpful especially those outdoor blankets that have plastic on one side.
  • We are collecting rain ponchos for the individuals.
  • And finally monetary donations that could go to any of the above items or even larger donations could go to rental assistance.  We can assist with short stays in motels to a couple of months worth of rent.  Just mark "Flats Fire" in the memo section.  These guys do want to find a way off the streets, but often reject shelters or other services. 

We recommend that you donate clothing to either West Side Catholic or Bishop Cosgrove Center.  These are the two places we trust will donate the items to homeless people and that we know most people use to receive clothing donations.   We had a meeting on Tuesday to talk about the continued concerns among the men and women sleeping in and around the Flats area.  This is the list generated from those who are staying outside. 

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.


Met with Cleveland Police Regarding the Attacks on the Camps

We had a meeting with many outreach workers and volunteers along with some of the victims of the fires down in the Flats and the Cleveland Police Department.  The new Commander of the Second District Thomas Stacho and Officer Petcak from the Downtown unit attended the meeting to hear our concerns that someone was targeting homeless people by burning down their campsites.  We heard of three active sites that were destroyed and a couple of abandoned camps.  This started the weekend of March 21 and continued last Friday March 28.   On Friday evening between 4 pm to 5 p.m.  there were a series of fires at the camps while they were away getting food.  Then when the residents went inside to get out of the cold in the middle of the night the criminals came back and torched more camps. 

NEOCH and other outreach teams are concerned that this is a hate crime, and will only get worse with more people living outside over the summer.  The Police assured us that they would follow up and would investigate these concerns.  They were going to talk to some of the business owners in the area, construction workers, and the Fire Department that responded. They were going to report back to us after interviewing some of the spectators down there and a few people identified by the victims as suspicious as well as others who go down along the river.  

The stroller lady was scared and reported all her losses including the death of one of her cats.  She was angry about many past beefs with many different people in the community.  She gets picked on so much it is hard to get her to focus on this attack and not the previous threats against her camp.  She was also frustrated that no one takes her complaints seriously for the last five years including the police.   Rick has relocated and is keeping his new location quiet.  He talked about the library books, clothing, sleeping bags and food that he lost.  He was stoic but said he did not understand these attacks.  Rick stays away from most people and does not bother anyone.  He interacts with the volunteers from Labre, but otherwise stays by himself.  He had no theories for who could have done this, because there was no threats or warning.  Rick did say that someone had stolen from him and had messed up his camp two weeks ago, but was not sure if this was related. 

The outreach teams will increase interaction with the people staying outside.  We have asked the residents to set up a "neighborhood watch" type program.  The police agreed to keep an eye out during their patrols.   We hope that they are able to find these domestic terrorists who burnt down these campsites and intentially destroyed the tents and all their possessions of these people who largely try to avoid the spotlight.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry


People Seem to Be Sheltering In Place

Homeless people seem to be sheltering in place and not going outside.  Everything including some of the healthcare clinic sites and drop in centers are closed today, but most people are inside.  The brave and hearty outreach teams have gone around to campsites over the last 24 hours to make sure people were safe.  We have about 8 people who the local outreach teams are checking on regularly.   The students from John Carroll, St. Ignatius, and CWRU Labre projects are still going out to check on the people they have built a relationship with over the years.  The Frontline Services staff are covering the community and helping those with mental health issues or disabilities find safe places to live.  Jim Schlecht, Tim Walters, Carl Cook and the other staff from Metanoia are keeping their drop in center open in this extreme cold.  We are giving out handwarmers, thermal sleeping bags and thousands of blankets to keep people safe.  Even with a wind chill of negative 20 degrees, people decide to stay outside under a tent and piles of blankets.  One woman told an outreach worker that she was worried her stuff inside her tent would be stolen if she went into the shelter or drop in warming center.  

The two big shelters are not turning people away and operating overflow shelters across the community.   We do not turn anyone away who requests shelter in Cleveland, and that is especially difficult during these tough winter weather.  The women over at Seasons of Hope safe haven are keeping four to six fragile women off the streets.  NEOCH staff came in today despite car issues and the 57 degree temperatures inside our office to make sure that if we received calls from social service or pedestrians we could dispatch help.   As one First Call For Help worker reported, it has been nice to see neighbors and pedestrians paying attention to homeless people and engaging them by asking about their safety.  People have called the 2-1-1 helpline to ask for assistance for people they worry about.  We are concerned that we lost track of a couple we kept an eye on during the last arctic cold spell near the freeway.  They were told that they have to move because of a cleanup, and we have not seen them for a week.   We hope that they decided to go inside and just haven't contacted anyone, but we are looking for them.  The Stand Down staff over at Handson NEO reported such an outpouring of help from the community, they have a surplus of winter items left to distribute.  We have been going over and collecting items that we need from their storage site.  We will post more about the Stand Down (it was great) as we get through this emergency. 

Brian Davis

Post reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.