The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless gives out awards at our Annual Meeting every year. On March 23, we recognized a few people who have provided outstanding services to homeless people in Greater Cleveland. Roy Love is the Board President who presented all the awards. It was a really nice crowd who showed their appreciation to the people who have helped improve the lives of homeless people.
2016 David Westcott Volunteer of the Year:
Michael McGraw is recognized for outstanding work writing for the Homeless Street Chronicle newspaper and his regular volunteer work at the Homeless Stand Down. McGraw has helped with the Hand Up Gala and regularly attends NEOCH events. McGraw is a true champion of the work of the Coalition and is always willing to help advance the mission.
2016 Advocate of the Year:
Joseph Mead is recognized for outstanding work representing the interests of homeless and low income people in Greater Cleveland. Mead of Cleveland State University and the ACLU is recognized for outstanding work advancing the cause of civil liberties over the past year in protecting free speech on the sidewalks in Youngstown, Akron, and Cleveland; for his outstanding work to protect domestic violence victims against evictions in the suburbs of Cleveland, and his protection of homeless people sleeping outside in Akron. He has worked at the Justice Department and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
2016 Media Personality of the Year:
Joe Pagonakis is recognized for outstanding work as a member of the fourth estate. He is identified as the WEWS TV 5 Troubleshooter, and has focused much attention on the poor conditions at the Community Women’s Shelter on Payne Avenue. Pagonakis is a graduate of Ohio University and has spent his career down the street at WEWS TV. Pagonakis is regularly putting a face on poverty with stories on human trafficking, housing struggles and the plight of homeless people.
Outstanding Achievements in Civil Rights:
Brenda Gray served as a board member with NEOCH since 2009, Gray has provided leadership to the homeless community. Gray is a lawyer specializing in juvenile justice, and volunteered with NEOCH to protect access to legal assistance for homeless people. Her legal experience was invaluable to the NEOCH board of trustees and she has served as an officer for the Coalition in the past. Gray was a strong advocate for an independent and healthy advocacy organization that defended the right to vote and was dedicated to the protection of individual liberties.
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