Four months! It been only that long since I started as the new Director of Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. The work of defending the rights and dignity of people experiencing homelessness in our community is important as ever. The lack of affordable housing because of gentrification continues to fuel a rise in homelessness. There is no doubt that NEOCH will be an important organization to advocate when our community is impacted by federal policy and local development decisions. We have already won some important advocacy campaigns. None of this was possible without your involvement.
When the Irishtown Bend project sought to forcefully displace the two dozen homeless residents, we organized and advocated. We called for a relocation plan that respected the dignity and agency of the people that call the Riverbed home.Through our efforts, those involved in the project committed to finding the funds to make sure there is a dignified relocation plan for the residents.
However, for every success, there is more critical work to be done. Today, family homelessness is on the rise in Cuyahoga County. Appoximately 50 woman and children are sleeping on a gym floor every night. The Women’s Shelter is housing forty more women than they have beds. The Men’s Shelter is regularly operating an overflow shelter. With federal cuts and increasing demands for supportive services, we need to make sure that people have access to and knowedge of the services. This is why we put hours into research to publish a Street Card, which provides people in crisis quick and easy information to access services.
With your continued financial support we will be able to do even more. Our goal is to continue making a difference in our community and in the lives of those experiencing homelessness in Cuyahoga County. Your support can make our outreach more effective, our advocacy more courageous, and our relationships stronger.
That is why I am writing to you today. We need you to make us strong. We need you to become a member of NEOCH. In exchange for your membership you will receive: a subscription to our advocacy newsletter called The Bridge, advocacy alerts, invitations to special events, Street Card updates, a voice for homeless people, and a strong coalition and social change.
It is through your support that we continue to be a force for change in this community. Please consider donating and becoming a member. As always, your contribution will be tax deductible and your membership will further the good work being done in our community.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
P.S. Because of you, Cleveland’s homeless have a friend!