Commentary by Angelo Anderson
Working at 2100 has given me a unique insight into human nature. No matter how hard it gets for some of our residents, they refuse to give up. It’s that spirit that motivates me to continue doing the work we do here. While we are seeing more new and younger faces, we are also seeing less harder to place, long term homeless men returning to homelessness.
What’s changed? New housing programs have focused on placing a man into a unit with rules that recognize the challenges of housing that person. Making allowances and adjustments have given many a permanent home.
As more and more people rent, we should see more landlords willing to take a voucher for the first and last months’ rent. They should be willing to give a hand up to many that just need some assistance with what, for many, can be a huge sum to come up with. This would provide hope for people that make slightly more than minimum wage.
Having a roommate is no longer frowned on in the homeless community, cementing friendships that often start out with two men watching each other’s belongings as they each go to work. Many times, independent housing is doable if they work together to pay for and maintain a unit.
Many of the things that we are able to accomplish at 2100 are the results of years of trial and error. I am part of a team that will always make mistakes, but will never give up encouraging, guiding, cheering, and pushing the men we work with to take the next step in their journey to become self-sufficient.
Your support and recognition of the need to provide the services that we do is the real key to lowering the number of homeless in Cleveland. While we may work on the front line we are only able to succeed because of the support we receive from outside the shelter, whether it’s from the county, city, foundations, or individuals. I thank you and they thank you. Your steadfastness and compassion is not in vain.