Homeless Lives Remembered at the Cleveland Memorial

       Councilman Zack Reed will be our honored speaker at the 2015 Homeless Memorial Day in Cleveland and the event will be hosted by WCPN Sound of Applause Host Dee Perry.  The 29th Annual Homeless Memorial Day will take place on Monday December 21, 2015 at St. Malachi Social Hall 2459 West 25th St.  at 5:00 p.m. at the Hunger Center (Enter off of Main Street or from the parking lot behind the church). Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed was elected to Council in 2000 after serving the Mayor’s office in San Francisco.  Reed recently attended the Homeless Congress to hear the concerns from homeless people and has regularly served at the Cosgrove Center Hunger Center for the Hands Up Gala.  This year before the ceremony we will recognize Chip Joseph of Y-Haven and previously at Catholic Charities as he retires.  We will have a number of religious leaders who offer a prayer for those who passed away, along with music.  We will light a candle as we remember those who passed away over the last year.   Media are welcome to attend and photograph the memorial/vigil.  

       We have seen increases in women who need shelter and families with huge barriers to stability asking for help while at the same time seeing a decrease in the number of available shelter beds.  We have seen a rise in the number of people sleeping outside in 2015, but have appreciated the break in the weather this last month after a rough time in January.  NEOCH will read the names of those who passed away over the last year at the Candlelight Vigil.

           Joining with other cities throughout the state and country, the Cleveland vigil will include a look back at homelessness in Cleveland.  In 2009, Ohio legislators designated December 21 as Ohio Homeless Memorial Day. Every big city in Ohio has a similar vigil to remember those who have passed away over the previous year.   We will read the names of those who passed away and had some experience with homelessness on Monday before the meal.  We typically have around 130 people who attend the memorial and we are honored to have Dee Perry as the host this year with Councilman Reed helping us remember those who died. 

        Locally, we have seen tightening budgets for a fourth year of federal cuts to shelters at the same time the need for shelter, food and services continues to increase.   Cuyahoga County absorbed a decrease of 10% of our federal funds over the last four years and federal support for housing has remained flat.  The Women’s Shelter has regularly 190 women in a facility with 130 beds and is every night running out of food.

       If you would like more information about the event, or you would like to schedule an interview with Brian Davis, please call NEOCH at 216/432-0540 or email Brian Davis at neoch@neoch.org.

Brian Davis

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