To: NEOCH Membership
Because you are a supporter of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, I wanted to let you know that I have given notice to the Coalition. I am going to resign from NEOCH effective June 1, 2017. The Coalition is releasing a strategic plan (click here) this week that will re-focus the agency on convincing the private sector to shelter, house and provide supportive services to those who lose their housing. Under new leadership, NEOCH is going to take on an even more valuable role to figure out strategies to meet increasing demand for help. NEOCH will continue working on fulfilling its mission of ending homelessness with new, energetic, hope filled and enthusiastic staff.
NEOCH has a really strong Board and they have worked on a transition plan. There is a committee to find new leadership. The NEOCH Board members all have a passion for social justice and want to make sure that homeless people are not forgotten in the broader discussion on poverty. I have told the Board that I would be willing to assist the organization if I land in Cleveland, because I believe that NEOCH serves a critical purpose within the community. I hope that you will continue to support NEOCH in order to make sure that the voices of homeless people will continue to be amplified.
It is a rough time for all those who value social justice and that is only complicated by bad decisions made by Cuyahoga County. NEOCH has become one of the premier civil rights Coalitions in the country and has won many legal victories with the City and State of Ohio to protect the rights of those without housing. NEOCH has done a great deal to improve conditions, organize the population and protect them from unreasonable laws or harmful public policies in Cleveland. If we accept some credit for improvements, we have to take responsibility for the suicide attempts in the shelters and the rise in deaths among homeless people. The issues facing the Coalition in the next few years include the large number of families seeking help and the reality that many of these families have to split up when they go to shelter, disabled and elderly women sleeping on the floors, and pregnant homeless moms who lose their babies to foster care.
I worked with NEOCH for 22 years and have often rubbed the establishment the wrong way. A new person can try to build bridges and downplay the advocacy piece until there is a better time for social justice. The agency can always use your volunteer assistance or your support in talking to elected officials on the importance of emergency housing assistance. NEOCH is only as strong as its membership.
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