by Mike McGraw
When asked at the end of October how preparations are going for the Metanoia Project's offerings of overnight winter hospitality to Cleveland's shelter-resistant population for the fast-approaching winter of 2015-16, Carl Cook's immediate answer is simply "blessed". That helps set the tone for the interview with Metanoia's enthusiastic program manager, who then adds "good busy" to his description of their autumn activities. Metanoia will operate at St. Malachi Parish/Social Hall at 2459 Washington Ave. from November 20 through April 15, and during that period will offer shelter on all Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 7:00 pm to 7:00 am, and will also offer emergency nights of shelter for those same hours on any Monday-Thursday nights when the temperature falls below 20 degrees.
They are equipped to shelter persons 18 and over, and they are the area's only coed winter shelter; couples of men and women who arrive together will be accommodated in the separate mens' and womens' sleeping areas, while children under 18 or families arriving with children under 18 will be networked out to facilities that are equipped to help them by the Metanoia staff.
Cook goes on to explain that the name "Metanoia" translates from the Greek as "reversal of thinking". That's why all those accessing the Project are offered the opportunity to participate in the Project's crucial Courage to Change program, and most of them accept the chance. During that 6-week course, Friday nights' classes are about traumas people have been assailed by; Saturdays' sessions are about life skills that can help the person succeed in future work and life experiences; and Sunday nights focus on spirit, which Cook emphasizes is not based on any one religious or denominational background.
Courage to Change orientation was November 27. Donations to help this critically important endeavor can be mailed as checks made out to the Metanoia Project at P.O. Box 93453, Cleveland, Ohio 44101. Information about donating online is also available at http://metanoiaproject.org/donate/
They had a huge Thanksgiving dinner for the guests, and the Homeless Memorial will be in the same location on December 21. Metanoia will be open for both Christmas and New Years for those who decide not to go to shelter in Cleveland.
Copyright Cleveland Street Chronicle December 2015 all rights reserved