NEOCH Signed 255 People up for Housing Voucher Last Week
NEOCH participated in a major effort to house the homeless the week of August 3 – 7 by getting them signed up for the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program. Through this effort we were able to sign up 255 homeless and at risk individuals for the housing voucher waiting list. Based on previous lottery statistics NEOCH estimate that 36**of these individuals will be offered a housing choice voucher. NEOCH recruited 24 volunteers with the help of HandsOn Northeast Ohio. These volunteers brought their laptops, tablets and smartphones to 12 homeless shelters and drop-in centers and spent a total of 80 hours signing up homeless members of the Cleveland community for housing.
The CMHA housing choice voucher program (HCVP) was formerly known as Section 8. This voucher can be the ticket out of homelessness to those that receive it. However, the opportunity to sign up for this program is extremely rare. The HCVP only accepted applications for 5 days last week and this list only opens once every four years. Additionally, the application for the voucher program is only available online.
The infrequency of the HCVP combined with the online-only application, make this program difficult for homeless people to access. NEOCH saw the need to make the HCVP application accessible to homeless people as vital. The goal was to ensure that every homeless and at-risk person in Cleveland had a chance to fill out an application. With the help of our volunteers and several organizations, we believe we were able to come very close.
NEOCH would like to thank the Cleveland Tenants Organization and HandsOn Northeast Ohio for sending us volunteers from their staff. We would also like to thank the following organizations for allowing us to use space in their facility; 2100 Lakeside Men’s Shelter, Bishop Cosgrove Center, The City Mission, Laura’s Home, Northstar Neighborhood Re-entry Center and The LGBT Center of Cleveland. In addition to the 255 people NEOCH signed up, most of the local shelters dedicated staff and computers to sign up their residents. We would like the facilities that hosted volunteers including: 2100 Lakeside, Laura’s Home, City Mission, Oriana House, Northstar Neighborhood re-entry and West Side Catholic Center. Lastly we could not have accomplished any of this without the help of volunteers. We would like to thank the following volunteers for their efforts; Fouad, Gina, Kathy, Sophia, Jessica, Shareasa, Mike, Jeramiah, Kris, Anne, Jennifer, James, Jeff, Beth and Kevin.
CMHA HCVP Sign-up Statistics
Total Applicants Assisted by volunteers: 255
Estimated # of people that will be housed due to this effort: ** (51 more likely)
Total Volunteers: 16
Total volunteer hours: 62
Average # of applications completed per volunteer shift: 8.2
Shelters and drop-in centers that hosted volunteers: 10
Megan the Intern
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**PS: August 21--Found out that about 50,000 people applied when the lottery was open which means that people have a 1 in 5 chance so 51 people we signed up will most likely receive a voucher eventually.