I have previous experience with homelessness. I wanted to tell you the readers how homeless people are able to survive. Some of them live in shelters; some of them live on the streets; some under bridges; some sleep in doorways, and some stay in abandoned apartments. Some panhandle, some rob, some steal, some of them have jobs and they still live on the streets. Some go to homeless shelters to eat and some go to churches. Some of them have their mail go to the shelter, others have mail come to the West Side Catholic Center. Some of them get check and some don’t. Some of them do something stupid to go to jail during the winter, because there isn’t enough room in the shelters and they don’t want to live outside.
When I was living on the streets, I was panhandling and living in the shelter or on the streets. The nights I couldn’t make it into the shelter, I would sleep in the doorways in front of Cosgrove. I would usually go to the West Side Catholic Center or Cosgrove to get food or sometimes I would go to Malachi. I was going to a place called Cleveland Healthcare for the Homeless, on East 22nd and Payne, in order to get myself back on my feet. Editor’s Note: This is the current location of the Women’s Shelter and was previously operated as a housing facility by Healthcare for the Homeless (now Care Alliance) called the Upstairs Program.
I had to pay for my room because I was getting a check. I had a nice dresser, desk, a phone, and mini a fridge. Those who couldn’t pay would only come for the night and sleep on mats. I had a case worker there who helped me find my way into more permanent housing. Some of my friends there were able to get jobs through their caseworkers. We had nurses there who would give us our medicine. We would go down to the office every morning and night to get our medicine. Those who needed it were allowed to go out at night to go to AA meetings. The shelter also offered their own AA meetings for people who needed it. We also had a list of chores which we had to accomplish if we wanted to continue staying there. The judge would refer some people to go there by court order for minor infractions of the law. I’m very grateful for my time at Cleveland Healthcare for the Homeless and all of the assistance they gave me during that rough time in my life.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle July 2016 Issue 23.2 Cleveland Ohio