Cuyahoga County Ombudsman Outreach

By Matt Hayes and Delmarshae Sledge

            In 1994 the citizens of Cuyahoga County Ombudsman Office appointed Roy C. Love as director of the homeless/hunger center outreach ombudsman project. The project will aid the homeless in communicating with local officials and is beginning to make some strong contacts within the city, according to Love.

            The County Ombudsman Office was established in 1981 to help individuals resolve problems with county government and agencies. Ombudsman Office literature contains words like “respond,” “help,” “empower,” “insure,” and “provide.” The office has identified the homeless as a population that would need a governmental advocate.

            Undoubtedly the homeless population of the county has been in desperate need of such an ally. Unfortunately, this potential advocate functioned for thirteen years before the needs of the homeless were addressed by current Executive Ombudsman Steve Wertheim. The Homeless/Hunger Center Outreach Ombudsman Project began in 1994 to address the problems of members of the homeless community.

Roy C. Love, a 1985 graduate of John Hay High school, makes the rounds of hunger centers and shelters, interviewing and talking to the community. Love holds a B.A. from Baldwin Wallace College, where he studied political science, criminal justice and business management.

            For the past eighteen months, as Outreach Ombudsman Love says he has faced a difficult challenge in fighting bureaucratic regulations in order to help the homeless. He has become a regular at the Bishop Cosgrove Center, where staff member Ron Reinhart speaks highly of him. Reinhart says “Roy really takes people’s Problems to heart” and is diligent about finding people to deliver important messages. Love admits that seeing former classmates using free meal sites and hunger centers has a profound effect upon him. He understands that correcting problems of housing, health care, and employment are difficult for one man but still strives to make a difference, one person at a time.

Copyright and the Homeless Grapevine Issue 11, August-September 1995, Cleveland, Ohio