The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless gives out awards at their annual meeting every year. This year the following people won the award, and all accepted the award in person. All the previous award winners are listed on the NEOCH website on the “About Us” section of the website. Former County Councilman Julian Rogers gave the keynote address addressing the topic of how can NEOCH do a better job at advocating for their constituency.
2014 Advocate of the Year
Norman Wolfe is a former member of the NEOCH Board and current member of the Homeless Congress. He volunteers with NOBLE working on the Ohio State budget issues and their impact of those decisions on homelessness and those living in poverty. Wolfe is a veteran of the US Navy and had previous experience with homelessness. One of the most important programs of the Coalition that Wolfe worked to restart was the Resident Council at 2100 Lakeside. He felt that this empowered the men at the shelter to confront senior staff about problems and work on resolution of those issues. Wolfe pushed for the Resident Council to give residents a chance to voice their frustrations and not face the possibility of retaliation.
2014 Volunteer of the Year
Demetrius Barnes has volunteered with NEOCH for over 5 years. She regularly comes into the office almost every day and is willing to help with anything. Barnes does clerical, phone calls, filing and sorting of donations. If you attend one of the meetings at NEOCH, you have probably received a call from Ms. Barnes. She lives in the MidTown area and wants to give back to her community. Barnes has great hopes to use the skills she has learned at NEOCH to find a permanent job. She has volunteered for her church and for the Bishop Cosgrove Center in the past, and attends the Homeless Congress and Hand Up Gala as well.
2014 Social Service Provider of the Year
Beau Hill is the Coordinator of the Harbor Light Project and contact for homeless services within the Salvation Army of Greater Cleveland. He is co-chair of the Public Policy Committee of the Office of Homeless Services and oversees the shelters, detox, community corrections, and outreach headquartered in the Prospect Avenue facility. Hill leads the effort to reduce human trafficking in Cleveland, and has assisted the County in improving the regulations of the local shelters. The biggest success over the last year was the posting of rules that prevent discharge from shelters in the evening unless there is criminal activity. The other victory from 2014 was the financing of a new family shelter in Cleveland operated by Salvation Army. This has been a dream of many including Hill for years to move the Zelma George shelter into their own brand new facility built to serve the unique needs of homeless families.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronical and NEOCH June 2015