You Could Be Me

There’s nothing worse than the fear and dread
That I feel inside not knowing where the next place I’ll lay my head
I’m old and I’m tired. I’m filled with pain
Sometimes I can remember nothing, not even my name.
I’m any eyesore to the fat cats that sit on the hill
Trapped in despair against my will
They’re concerned how I got here what mistakes did I make
Without an ounce of compassion for goodness sake
My situation so tough a bitter pill to swallow
My past so dark, my future so hollow
I pray each day for one more chance
For I am still a human being, just take a glance
fought in Iwo Jima, the Jungle of Vietnam
The beaches of Normandy, in Iraq across the burning sand
You are you. Proud and free
Just keep in mind...one day you could be me.

Donald Whitehead
Cincinnati, OH

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Women's Support Group Finds Talking Leads to Change


by Jayne Martin

     In the 1970's it was called "consciousness-raising," the gathering of groups of women with the purpose of raising each other's awareness about the systematic causes of oppression in their lives. Today, although two decades have passed , the need for such groups is even greater, and the goal is not only to enlighten, but to unify women as a group to bring about change.
     The Welcome House Shelter's Monday night support group began as a three-part series to discuss crucial issues in women's lives. Racism, the role of the system and the use of sexist language were three key topics from which a wide variety of thoughts and concerns have emerged. Shelter residents and staff gather to share experiences, offer insight, and look for ways to combat the oppression in the lives of homeless women. The only rules are honesty and confidentiality.
     Through the discussions in the support group center around difficult issues, they are lessened by the fact that other women have experienced similar life events.
"At first, I just sat there and was quiet," explained one resident, "then I listened to what the other women had been through. It was so much like my own experiences. I didn't feel anymore like I was alone in my struggles." The close group setting which includes residents and staff allows the women to find common ground and learn from one another.
     The subject of racism sparked reactions from the residents of shelter who had experienced prejudice in the community as they searched for affordable housing. One resident shared her interaction with a local landlord and store owner: I went to ask about this apartment where I saw a "for rent" sign hanging in the store. I was the only Black woman in the store and I asked who was the owner of the apartment "for rent." The man behind the counter just looked at me, like there was something wrong with me, and he told me he had already rented the apartment. I knew that it wasn't rented. I had other people in shelter call about it. I wanted to shout at him, but I was too humiliated. It seemed like the 1960's all over again. I didn't think I would ever have to live with attitudes like that.
     Shocking as it is, racism affected nearly all the residents in their day to day lives. They nod in agreement and understand as one woman and then another tells her story. They discover that be sharing what has happened to them in a group environment, they are not alone in the fight against racism. Several women come to realized that, although they did not want to admit to themselves that racist attitudes were widespread, they could not close their eyes to the obvious: I couldn't believe the way I was being treated when I went to fill out housing applications. I was made to feel like a criminal, a low-down person because I didn't have a home for me and my child. One woman at t public housing accused me of being on the run with my daughter. I couldn't give her a lot of information about my past because it is dangerous leaving an abuser. She said, 'how do I know you didn't steal this man's baby?' They make you jump though hoops, only to turn you down. I think the racism within the system is the most destructive.
     As the following weeks discussion on sexism and the role of the system transpired, the participants began to make links between racism, sexism, and the role of the system in the lives of homeless women. Each woman took a turn sharing what her encounters had been like trying to obtain public assistance, fine affordable housing, and look for a decent job and child care. They were asked to speak about what role the system had in their lives. All had experienced bother racism and sexism within the system. Some told horror stories of human service workers who had made them wait for hours only to deny them because they were in a shelter. others talked about the prevailing attitudes that exist surrounding homeless women, particularly single mothers. "I was actually asked by a worker," shared one support group resident, "why I was pregnant with another child, if I couldn't afford the one I have. What can you say to someone who holds so much power over you? We need the public assistance and so it's like we have to take their abuse."
     But as the discussion group continued and more women spoke up, a collective decision was made to do something about it. "We have to stand together," shared an older resident, whose children were grown, "If we all stand up and say 'we're not leaving this office until we get some answers, ' then we have a voice; one, alone, cannot fight this battle."
     And so, the collective conscious becomes politicized. The women's group not only provides an opportunity to express feelings, but creates an environment for women to organize their anger and frustration. The goal of the group is to end each session with a plan of action. Thus far, the group began a letter-writing campaign to congressmen urging them to reconsider the cuts in the federal budget. In addition, the members of the women's group affected by negligence at the Department of Human Services are working on an open letter to all supervisors explaining to them the need for better educated workers who know the policies for providing assistance to single women and families staying in shelters. 
     Most importantly, women in the group are building strong social ties with one another, something desperately lacking in a system that forces family and friends to live apart. Women who leave the shelter are coming back for the Monday night group. Even the ones who never say much are listening and returning every week.
     Philosopher Karl Marx, who was a forerunner in the idea of consciousness-raising, believed that once a person was given the lens with which to view their lives intertwined with the push and pull of the system to meet its needs, that they could never see things any other way. They will no longer be able to deny racism, or ignore sexism, or believe that they are single victims. They will see a connection with others who struggle. They will see that together, change is essential.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Who Is to Blame?


by Margaretta Ogletree

Being poor recognizes no limits of race, no prejudice or certain times to strike. Can we create a game plan to survive? No, because each is so busy taking from one another. And the first thing we do is blame it on the white man. But we're wrong. When we had a chance to make it, we misused the system and started hurting ourselves.

Now we hurt each other with violence. Has the devil succeeded in destroying our planet?

He planted a seed and it grew bigger and bigger. It gave birth and it's living among us. Self pity has no shame.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Welfare Reform Wave Washes Over the Nation

 by Gilda Storm
     Attention to "welfare reform" has brought about fundamental changes to the government safety net at both the state and federal levels.
     The Ohio legislature unexpectedly joined a firestorm sweeping the country and passed a "welfare reform" package. On June 7, 1995 amendments were passed on the floor of the House that will place a time limit on public assistance of 3 years of every 5 years with some exemptions, require persons that are 21 years or older have a GED or high school diploma to be eligible for pubic assistance, and place a cap on benefits for families who receive public assistance.
     These "welfare reform" amendments never received a public hearing or any type of public scrutiny before they were passed by the House. The impact of these amendments is a whole new set of standards for possible disqualification from public assistance. The family benefits cap will mean that the addition of a family member will no longer result in an increase in benefits. A public assistance recipient will receive more vouchers, but not an increase in cash assistance. There are also new mandates requiring drug screenings for pregnant women receiving assistance and for individuals enrolled in the JOBS program.
     The Ohio Senate passed similar legislation and the Governor signed the budget into law in August.
     On the federal level, tentative plans to balance the federal budget in seven years have resulted in a general blueprint requiring massive cuts in nutrition programs; the Women, Infant and Children food program; housing for those afflicted with AIDS; and a number of McKinney Act- funded programs which attempt to address homelessness on a federal scale. The proposal offered by Representative John Kasich (R-OH) offers a 35 percent decrease, with adjustment for inflation over the next seven years, for federal programs such as the homeless assistance funds, emergency shelter grants, disabled housing programs, elderly housing subsidies, and supportive/transitional housing, with cuts as large as 80 percent for Section 8 low income housing renewals.
     The U.S. Senate's current version is similar, and a conference committee will decide on a compromise. President Bill Clinton has vowed to veto the proposed budget by the Republican majority, but has not voiced support for the entitlement programs.
While few activists applauded the current federal programs to end homelessness, there was always a sense that the government funds were available for innovative programs that would mean a decrease in the population. At this time, the Republican-led Congress is attempting to turn all social service activities over to the private sector.
     There is an effort to eliminate the Community Reinvestment Act, which set in motion fair lending laws by financial institutions. This is not a budgetary reform, because the act was merely a regulation that banks must follow. The new version of the Reinvestment Act grants an exemption from or allows for self-certification of the laws requiring a bank not to discriminate in its lending practices.
     The Legal Aid Services, which provides legal assistance for the low income, is also a target of the current Congress. A major portion of the Legal Aid Services budget comes from the federal government and is used to provide free legal services to low income people for civil cases involving housing, public assistance benefits, and domestic violence issues. The Kasich proposal would cut 35 percent from the program's budget in 1996, and end the program in 1997.
     The Clinton tax incentive for working low income families is scheduled for debate in October. The Earned Income Tax Credit, which was intended to compensate the working poor who must pay health care and child care expenses, could be eliminated in this next budget cycle.
     Activists in Ohio are predicting "dark times ahead for social services." The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio say these new federal and state cuts are made in "a spirit of downright coldness that is pervasive." In Cincinnati, Janie Mynott from Welcome House said, "It's a nightmare. And with these cuts there's no relief in sight."

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

"THE GOLDEN RULE"

You are me, to a certain degree.
I must learn to love you unconditionally.
Because I know if I were you,
I'd expect the same things you expect me to do.
Let me walk a mile wearing your shoes
And show me just how much you have to lose.
You could lose your mind, you could go insane.
I must learn to let go and feel your pain.
Maybe you just want a cup of tea
Or are hoping to find some sympathy.
You could be overwhelmed with fear.
I must learn to have a listening ear.
I can't ignore you when you cry
And say it will be better the day that you die.
I have to open my eyes and see
That I must treat you as if you were me.
When I act as if you're the one to blame,
I should look at myself, and experience shame.
For things could be different before life is through,
And you could be me, and I could be you.
Most important of all, every day that I live
I must soften my heart and learn to forgive.
For whoever in heaven's keeping score in this game
Will only subtract when I do the same.
My door must be open, I must be aware.
If there's something you need, I must learn to share.
The worse thing I could do is to chase you away.
The same thing could happen to me someday.
When this life is through, and I come to my end,
I hope you'll tell God I was truly your friend.
The only way I'll be welcome in heaven above,
Is if you are there to testify to my love.

John Agostin

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Temporary Agencies Exploit Desperate Populations

by Matthew E. Hayes and Brian Davis

"Get a job, you bum!" is the cry heard by many of the homeless downtown from the politically correct population. The Homeless Grapevine has asked a number of the low income/homeless at a local meal site about the only Mecca left for jobs in the 90's--the temporary service.
     The common complaints included an extremely long wait before being sent out on a job assignment, another long wait before receiving their pay, and the exposure to dangerous working conditions. Andrew Duetch of Minuteman Temporary Agency said that it is always difficult in dealing with all the personalities of the temps. He said, "You have to understand we are not selling pens, we are selling human beings."
Jason, who had recently worked at Jacob's Field, cited lack of communication between the agencies and employers as one of his main complaints. "When you go over they [temp agency] want you to be there [Jacob's Field] by 2:00 p.m., then they change the time and tell you to sign up in the morning." Another concern of Jason's is the tendency of temporary agencies to only give jobs to people they have seen regularly or know. The rest of the people must wait days or weeks before being sent out to work.
     Chris Dobias, Cleveland manager at Ameritemps said that individuals are sent out the same day they apply, and the wait is, "maybe an hour." They do not pay temps to wait, because they are not physically working. He said, "If you get here early, you get the best jobs."
     Rinaldo, a meal site customer and part time temp employee also was upset with the long wait involved in getting temporary employment. "They always send out regulars. How do you become a regular?" He once sat at AAA [All American Temporary Agency] for three weeks without being sent out on a job. Minutemen, however, sends its workers into "dangerous conditions but they'll send you out." Some of his temp jobs included loading and unloading trucks at St. Vincent de Paul and working at a heat treatment place for metals. The second job involved being exposed to fire, smoke, and dust particles in temperatures over 300 degrees with no face masks available for protection. Rinaldo believes putting temps into this type of working condition is a form of discrimination.
     Joe who does not give his last name of AAA temporary company said it has "absolutely never" happened that an employee has waited three weeks for a job. He said 9 out of 10 people get a job immediately. "There is usually no wait. Between the 28th and 16th [of a month] we are hurting for people." He said this was attributed to the timing of the welfare and the food stamps checks.
     Deutch of Minuteman said the average wait was one half hour. In response to the temps facing dangerous jobs, he said, "I don't think we have any jobs like that. Jobs of that nature are usually automated. We have so much competition we do everything we can to make our temps happy." Deutch admitted 15 years ago "temps were treated like dirt," but with all the competition today temps are given a great deal of respect.
     Despite all the competition, Minuteman said that the average wage is $4.50-$4.75 an hour [$4.75 an hour is $9,880 a year. The federal definition of poverty for 1995 is $7,470 for 1 and $10,030 for a family of 2], and they sent out 19,000 W-2's last year. Deutch asserted that temp agencies are a supplement to Food Stamps or government assistance. "I agree that it is difficult to make a living. You have to understand that we are a business here."
     Gerald, who has worked as a machine operator, had a more reasonable opinion about temporary job agencies. He claimed that they treat you fair and only expect you to do your job. His only complaint being that "they don't pay enough." In regards to becoming a regular at an agency, he pointed out that if "somebody shows up who they don't know, they'll send out somebody they know who is consistent."
     Deutch echoed Gerald's comments saying that they send out those that show up on a regular basis to the best jobs. "We put the best person on the best job...We match the job to the person's qualifications," he said. "One major problem that we do have," Deutch explained, "is these people that we do have and we send out don't come back. This keeps the company from hiring them full time."
     When asked about the difference between the price that the company pays to the temporary service and what the temp gets paid, Deutch said, "Workers Compensation percentages are astronomical. The margin of what we make as a profit is not that much. We are able to keep our heads above water."
     Dobias of Ameritemps when asked how much money the temporary agency makes from each person said, "I can't give you that. We are in the business to make money." He did say that the amount paid to the temp and the amount the company is charged is up to the owners and the managers. When pressed he said the average that a company pays is about $6 an hour for light industrial work. The Homeless Grapevine did some checking and found Minuteman quoted a price of $8.25, Manpower was charging $9.50, Area Temps charges $10.72, and Ran Temporary agency charged companies $9.00 an hour. The companies that we contacted without identifying the newspaper were substantially higher than the price quoted to us by Ameritemps.
Standard costs associated with hiring a new employee including taxes, benefits (which temp agencies offer only after a period of service) and administration is 20% added to the salary. This would amount to 90 cents for a $4.50 an hour job. Companies pay temporary companies around $9.00 an hour, which would mean the temp companies are making $3.60 per hour in profit from each employee.
     R.C. has worked at several factory jobs through temporary agencies over the years. He described Norrel as treating people professionally because of their location at Tower City. Others, such as Ameritemps and Minutemen, who are located on the outskirts, deal with people who are "more desperate and therefore treat them like they are institutionalized" and will send you to "rougher jobs."
     R.C. claims that if you miss a day because of sickness they will send out someone in your place and offer you an excuse why you cannot go there anymore. He too has worked in conditions he felt were unsafe. At a finishing company he was cleaning out toxic tanks while wearing rubber boots and gloves but was not given a face mask to filter the air he was breathing. At a place called Atlas Tech parts plant, nicknamed "House of Pain" by people who have worked there, he had to pickup parts off a conveyor belt which weighed twenty pounds each. "They expected you to pick up two or three at a time. They should have you doing work according to weight class." Eventually after working so many weeks, the agencies will fire you for "petty" reasons according to R.C., so they won't have to give you benefits.

     Joe of AAA Temporary Agency said that Atlas Tech does not have parts that weigh over 5 pounds, and the temps are paid more money for the job. He said, "I got one guy who is 72 years old who works 10 hours a day [at Atlas Tech]. The work is non-stop. Those caught goofing off or not working are docked. It requires a lot of work."
     Rob has had experience working at a pet store, at a Handy Andy store, painting, salvaging tires, and has had periods of being homeless. He originally sat around for three or four weeks at a temp agency before becoming friends with one of the men who worked there. Then he would always get sent out. He believes those people who had the most trouble becoming a "regular" were those who would wait a few weeks at one agency and then go to another and another.
     His worst experience working through a temp agency occurred when he was sent to a metals plant, which is another heat treatment factory for metal. He was working all day around fire and heat but they would not give him any gloves to wear. "You had to pick up old gloves with holes in them from off the floor and they would not give you a face mask until the day inspectors were supposed to show up. And there were chemicals in the air and on your skin."
     Dobias of Ameritemps said, "We don't really know if they are homeless or not." He said that all jobs are checked out by the salesperson before they are sent out on the job." If there is something dangerous about the job the temp is informed before they are dispatched and are usually paid more for the job."
     Joe from All American said, "Obviously, I will look at them [the homeless] as any other employee. We look at their personality and their will to work." He said that he does not make any special arrangements for the homeless. "They have got to be out by 9:00 a.m. If they are not going to work they can't be hanging around my shop," he stated.

Although none of the homeless men interviewed believed that they were discriminated against because of homelessness, they all felt that temporary agencies take advantage of people who are desperately in need of work. "They [temp agencies] know if your not willing to do the work there is always someone to take your place," stated Rob. "But would I work for temps again?" asked Gerald, "Yes."

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

St. Augustine Petition??

by Tom Hayes

When the West Side Sun News reported on Thursday, August 17, 1995, that "Petitions Aim at Shutting Down Hunger Center"--about the St. Augustine Hunger Center on West 14th in Tremont--the real news was created.

In early August, sparked by rumors, the Homeless Grapevine--the newspaper of and by the homeless--began pursuing a story about an alleged petition drive to close the St. Augustine Hunger Center. These rumors were substantiated by homeless vendors and clients at the Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center, which, among other things, runs a hunger center at the corner of East 18th and Superior.

The Grapevine contacted Councilman Gary Paulenske, the councilman of Tremont's thirteenth district, who said he was unaware of any petition against the St. Augustine site. Councilman Paulenske said he would "never support the closing of St. Augustines." The Grapevine then contacted Sister Korita Ambro at St. Augustines who was also unaware of any petition. Sister Ambro, however, was fully aware of why such a petition could be started. That, while most of the homeless clients at the hunger center are respectful, eating and then moving on, there are "others who just aren't couth." Further, that these persons should realize how their "inappropriate behavior is hurting the name of the homeless." From these interviews, the Grapevine could not find any organized effort or an actual petition.

On August 16, the West Side Sun News contacted the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH)--the agency that publishes the Homeless Grapevine--and asked for any information NEOCH had about the petition. NEOCH had very little information, most of it rumors and speculation. Then, in the August 17th edition of the News, a report appeared discussing St. Augustine's Hunger Center and "a petition drive aimed at shutting it down." The September issue of The Plain Press reported the very same story.

The Homeless Grapevine found no evidence of any petition. In fact, the "petition" was a letter addressed to Father McNulty, St. Augustine's Parish Priest. The residents who wrote the letter, and did not want to be identified, said they were angry at being portrayed as wanting to close the Hunger Center. That, in fact, they had no intention of that at all. They were, instead, worried about incidents which had occurred around the site: public excretions and fighting; and about code issues: a paved parking lot behind the church and fenced in dumpsters (open to view and sometimes overrunning with trash, stinking in the sun.) The letter was an attempt to address these concerns.

There are only a few facts in the St. Augustine Hunger Center story and they are these: there is no petition; there is a problem between residents near the Hunger Center and St. Augustines; and finally, a few news stories "created" a petition that, as of yet, does not exist.

David Plata, the staff writer for the West Side Sun News, was quoted by the Grapevine as saying "no comment" when asked about the mistake.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

So, Why is T.R. McCoy Homeless?

by Jason Grunspan

     One of the problems with confronting homelessness is that when those of us who are not homeless and never have been, consider the issue, we think of it as something that couldn't be more distant from ourselves. We see a ragged-looking person sleeping under a tree by a parking lot, think how awful it is, and then shut it out of our mind until the next time we are unavoidably faced with this uncomfortable situation. When you perceive something as being distant, it's much more difficult to be affected by it.
I was talking to my friend T.R. McCoy recently. As it turns out, we attended the same university--though he some years before me. We discussed our common proclivity for literature and philosophy. It happens that we are both the oldest child in families that were raised in good neighborhoods with middle class values. T.R. comes from a big family, and all his siblings have settled down with careers and families.
     His sister works for a phone company, one brother runs a homeless shelter, another is a janitor and army veteran, his youngest brother is a big time drug dealer. When his dad died, T.R. had to drop out of college to help his mother run the household and help raise his youngest brother.
     Eventually, he got a job driving a cab--which he held for almost twenty years. It was a good job; a job that T.R. enjoyed. It was a good way to meet people and he was able to use his public relation skills. The only down sides to the job were the long hours and occasional hold ups. He was robbed at gun point on a few occasions and once, while trying to defend himself from a thug in the back seat who had taken twenty nine dollars off him, was stabbed through the hand. These incidents, although few and far between, were frightening, but T. R. did not let them scare him off.
So, why is T.R. McCoy homeless? When he lost his cab job due to an accident in which he was falsely accused, he could not get another steady job. He attributes this to the fact that he is now middle aged, with bad feet and legs, and there has been no decent job training available. If you're not suited for heavy industrial labor and you haven't gotten any adequate job training, where does that leave you?
     It left T.R. McCoy in a cleverly situated, hand-crafted tent he put together with scraps. He had always enjoyed the outdoors, but for the past four or five years his endurance has been tested. He could take a job at McDonalds, but what's the point in making $4.25 an hour with no benefits or health care--standing on bad legs and feet all day. It happens that T.R. knows a lot of people in the area--so he can often get a ride from a fellow cab driver, stay with a relative or friend when he needs to, but not wanting to become a burden, he continues to move on: working jobs when he can get them, like a nomadic factotum.
     I have worked heavy industrial and factory jobs. Though I am young and in decent physical condition, I usually don't last more than a few months on these jobs. If I were twenty years older with bad legs, it wouldn't even be an option. Luckily, I'll soon have a college degree and even if I become unemployed for an extended period of time I have my family to fall back on. I've had economic and social opportunities thrown at my doorstep my whole life. At times they seem to thrust themselves upon me though I was doing everything I could to shun what ever fortune might be headed my way. Is this what it comes down to? Chance, or whoever's been blessed with more opportunities? I know life is not fair, but I have to wonder what I'd be doing and where I'd be living if a few things had not gone my way. Perhaps in a tent.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Reality Falls on Entitlements

by Jean Andolsen

There has been a whole-scale transformation in government programs and how they relate to the individuals who use them, or once used them. The following is a presentation of the real changes to assistance programs in Ohio.

The General Assistance program (GA) in Ohio, including the health card, ended July 31, 1995. Hospitalization costs will still be covered under the Hospital Care Assurance Program after that date. No hearing rights are associated.

The Disability Assistance program (DA), which provides cash and medical benefits to people not eligible for Adults with Dependent Children (ADC) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), is continuing for children under the age of eighteen, adults age sixty or over, pregnant women, people living in a treatment facility certified by the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, and people who cannot work due to a physical or mental disability--a condition that must have lasted or be expected to last for at least nine months. However, those who were on Disability Assistance because of medication dependency will only receive a DA medical card and will not receive cash benefits.

The Food Stamp program is not affected by these changes. People formerly receiving cash assistance under the General Assistance or Disability Assistance program can continue to receive food stamps if their income and resources remain low. It is important to note, however, that there is no way for the agency to contact homeless food stamp recipients when their food stamp case is about to expire. Therefore, homeless people who only receive food stamps and not cash from the Department of Human Services will need to keep track of what month their food stamp certification is due to end and contact their social worker that month. If a person comes in after the food stamp case expires, he will receive less food stamps for that month because benefits will be prorated.

Despite these cuts, there are other programs which working, low-income families need to know about.

Transitional Benefits is a program that provides health care and/or day care services for up to a year for ADC parents who have found employment. If an ADC recipient finds employment, she is required to notify her caseworker of this change within ten days. She should also ask her caseworker to explore eligibility for Transitional Benefits.

Healthy Start is a program that provides free medical services to children who are less than twelve years old, of moderate to low income families, and to pregnant women with moderate to low income. Resources are not considered and the monthly income guidelines are higher than for ADC. As of 7/1/95, a two-person family will receive $1112, a three person family will receive $1395, and a four person family will receive $1679. The Healthy Start Inquiry Line is 987-7346 for Cuyahoga County.

In Cuyahoga County, there are three Intake sites: the Downtown office at 1641 Payne, the Southgate office at 21007 Southgate Park Boulevard, and the Northeast office at 12212 St. Clair. Applications can be filed from 8:30 to 3:30 daily. After business hours, recorded information about the programs offered by the Department of Human Services can be obtained by calling 987-7000.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

"Organize, Protest!" Says SF Reader

Dear Mr. Davis:

Hello from San Francisco! I just finished reading a copy of your paper sent to our StreetSheet editor. Your paper is great and does similar work to our Street Sheet paper here.

I read that 42% of Cleveland is in poverty. And yet you only get $100 a month for six months in General Assistance (GA)? Out here in San Fransisco, we get $345 a month all year round, free medical care and, if you want to live in a single room occupancy (SRO) hotel, free utilities.

In SF, we believe that when a person is out of work they are merely "in between successes," not to be looked down upon like dogs! The wealthy in your area need to learn that... General Assistance is good for business, because, you see, with our GA. San Francisco never goes broke! As long as there are GA payments for rent and life's necessities, the money is always circulating to not only the poor but to shopkeepers and landlords as well! Everyone gets a piece of the GA pie, whether they realize it or not! As soon as GA gets cut in a community, the WHOLE population suffers, including the rich.

It's amazing to me that I don't hear of your poor people marching down the streets loud and angry, especially in the middle of one of your famous bone-chilling winter seasons! The rich people in your area make you people feel bad for getting $100 a month for six months out of the year?

To your readers I say this: Get off your knees! Stand up for your right to life! It can be helped! Vote! Vote! Vote! Organize! Protest! March! Demonstrate! Don't let the wealthy people's whining and ignorant arguments get you down! The only reason they're rich is because you're poor! They closed your factories down, sent the work to Bolivia and Korea for cheaper wages and left you all hanging with nothing! They owe you!!! They sold out your community for higher profits and yet you let them live in your community as your leaders? They owe you because they have betrayed their own community and sold it down the river along with your family!!! Do the rich in your area really believe that cutting out your money will take care of drug problems and alcohol addiction, teenage pregnancies, abuse, neglect, general poverty and joblessness?

Thank you for your time, Mr. Davis. Please print my letter in your paper. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely,

Brian "Ironhorse" Stattman
909 Geary #525
San Francisco, CA 94109

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

NEOCH Reaffirms Four Goals for Next Year

by Max Johnson

At the July meeting, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) Board of Trustees voted to reaffirm their commitment to four key goals for the upcoming year. These four goals: advocacy on behalf of the homeless population, community education around the issues of the homeless, publication of the Homeless Grapevine newspaper, and the empowerment of homeless persons, will become the main focus of NEOCH activities.

The board recently voted to maintain an administrative relationship with the Cleveland Tenants Organization (CTO), an organization dedicated to tenant rights, with Spencer Wells acting as Executive Director. Brian Davis, hired in March, is the current (and new) Director of NEOCH--Davis will coordinate the production of the Grapevine and all projects which NEOCH creates or in which NEOCH participates.

The Coalition will be constructed around representatives of the service provider network in Cleveland, advocates and members of NEOCH, and homeless or formerly homeless persons.

In support of these goals, NEOCH will organize a monthly forum for the homeless and low income to establish a dialogue concerning issues relating to shelters, hunger programs, the police, or other service providers. Input from these forums will guide programming for NEOCH and other organizations associated with NEOCH. Spencer Wells said, "something about it is important--for an organization in Cleveland to step up and advocate for affordable housing, which is almost non-existent in Northeast Ohio."

Strengthening the Grapevine and expanding it to other cities in Ohio will be a focus for the next year. Brian Davis will continue in his role. Davis said, "I want to try and get more homeless and low income involved in the production of the newspaper. I want the Grapevine to be a forum for the homeless to speak to Ohio, and the newspaper will amplify their voice until the public finally hears what is really going on here on the streets of America."

At the same time, NEOCH will educate its members to address local, state and national issues that impact the homeless and low income individuals. NEOCH members will be encouraged to exercise their rights to advise elected officials about their concerns. A public education campaign will be implemented by the Americorps*VISTA members on staff. They will focus attention on the problems that the homeless are facing by reaching out to the media, politicians, and business and civic organizations in Cleveland. 

In adopting these goals for 1996, NEOCH Trustees adopted the idea of becoming a coalition of interests rather than a coalition of organizations. Over the coming year, Trustees will work to bring housing advocates and homeless people on to the Board to supplement the perspectives of homeless service providers.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Metal Band Helps the Grapevine

by Jon Simon

A metal benefit concert was held on August 26th at Yurek's Cafe with all proceeds going to the Homeless Grapevine Newspaper. Surge, Affixiate, and DH, local metal bands, played to a crowd of around 100 people and raised over $400 for the Grapevine. Dave Ziegler, who coordinated the event, said that he and the bands hope to make this benefit an annual event to help the homeless. Yurek's, located at 8909 Garfield Boulevard in Garfield Heights, also made a generous donation to the Grapevine. These benefits are not only a way to raise money for the newspaper, but are also an opportunity to educate the public about the plight of the homeless while showcasing the talent and social awareness of local musicians.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Legislation May Eliminate Advocacy by Non-Profits

Provided by the National Community Mental Healthcare Council Action Alert from August 1995

Background: On August 10, the House of Representatives approved an amendment sponsored by Reps. Ernest Istook (R-OK), David McIntosh (R-IN) and Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) that would impose new limits on free speech and advocacy by many non-profit organizations.

The sponsors of the amendment claim that new regulation of lobbying and policy advocacy by non-profits is necessary in order to prevent organizations from using taxpayer money for political activity. However, federal law already prohibits grantees from using grant money for lobbying. The Istook amendment would ban any organization that receives a federal grant from using more than 5% of its own, non-grant money for any activity loosely defined as "advocacy."

The amendment's definition of advocacy encompasses all attempts to influence public policy at the national, state, and local levels, including: direct lobbying, meeting with a public official, grassroots education, writing a letter to the editor, filing an amicus brief, testifying before an agency, or any other activity that might be intended to influence government activities. The amendment goes so far as to prohibit these activities by organizations whose core mission includes advocacy, e.g. Protection and Advocacy organizations.

Non-Profit Federal Grantees Would Be Gagged: The Istook amendment would have a far reaching impact on non-profit human service providers. For example, a non-profit community mental health organization that receives a federal grant to aid homeless persons with mental illness could be prohibited from testifying before a state agency that was considering cutting funding to local shelters. Again, it is important to remember that the organization is using its own, non-grant money for this purpose.

Enforcement of the Istook amendment is certain to be very costly for non-profit human service organizations by adding more red tape and difficult administrative procedures. In order to enforce the new rule, the Istook proposal would require every organization receiving a federal grant to keep detailed records of any activities that could be considered advocacy. In addition, every grantee would also have to keep track of, and in some cases report, the advocacy activities of every employee and every business from which it purchases goods or services.

It has been established in case law and Supreme Court decisions that this type of gag rule runs contrary to the 1st amendment free speech guarantees. Unfortunately, the House chose to ignore the case law, testimony by constitutional experts, and even a report by its own Congressional Research Service.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Homelessness is not a life sentence

by Michael L. McCray

People often look at the homeless and see only a reflection of the moment, not the person's history. Most homeless people are not born homeless, nor do they necessarily die homeless. Ron Reinhart is a 47-year-old man who understands this, having been homeless at various times during an 18 year span of his life.

Ron's homeless life began in 1970, during the end of the hippie movement. He attributes much of his homeless experience to drugs and alcohol abuse. I think I was like everyone else at that time - we were trying to find ourselves, but in reality we were already there,” he says. “We were all looking for a change but there could not be any change because you brought the same person with you wherever you went.

During those times Ron did a lot of things he was ashamed of - such as lying, cheating, and stealing - just to get through the day and support his drug and alcohol habits. Eventually, he was no longer able to care for himself.

But Ron's life has changed, and today he is the Program Director at Bishop Cosgrove Center in Cleveland. The center offers meals and other support services to homeless drug users and alcoholics. Ron has been free of his addictions for eight years. He attributes his recovery to spirituality. “I get up every morning and give it to God and go about my business. When I do face a crisis in my life, God removes the obsession and I do not drink, I do not even think about it. I do make mistakes every day but so does everyone else. It's a part of life." Ron sees the main cause of homelessness a little differently than most people. He attributes the problems many homeless people face to broken personal relationships.

“Today we seem to think that homelessness is caused by economic conditions. But if that were true, then during times of great prosperity we would have no homeless people," Ron says. “Economics is a partial answer, it is not a complete answer. Getting people back into housing, rehabilitation, is all a good thing, but if they do not learn how to nurture relationships with other people and a crisis enters their life again they will be right back on the streets again."

Most people who are alcoholics or drug addicts break down those important human relationships. He feels that this behavior destroys the vital human safety net that we all need to survive.

When asked if he thinks he will ever end up homeless again, Ron says no. He now has just too many friends who would prevent that from happening. His own safety net is firmly in place.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Homeless Stand Down '95

 By Jenny Lindquist

    The second annual Homeless Stand Down, a day-long event that provided services to homeless people, was held on August 25 at Cuyahoga Community College's Metro campus. Approximately 400 homeless persons received food, respite, and access to services which may assist in breaking the cycle of homelessness and encourage hope, vision, and health.
    Sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Catholic Charities, and many other community groups, the Stand Down's mission was to improve the quality of life for homeless people. Cleveland's Stand Down is one of the few in the country in which service providers for veterans and civilians are working together to combat homelessness. "It's a beginning," said Tom Halfhill, co-chair of the Stand Down committee and a Clinical Social Worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs. "We're not going to break the cycle of homelessness in one day, but we can provide the homeless with opportunities to access services."
    Among other things, homeless people had a chance to get medical check-ups, register for social security and veterans benefits, receive counseling, get legal aid, and gather information about educational and employment opportunities. Over thirty service providers were available to talk with interested people. Area shelters; Healthy Family, Healthy Start; the Ombudsman Office; and the City of Cleveland Human Resources Office were among those represented.
    Homeless people also had the opportunity to take showers, get haircuts, and eat a hot lunch. At the end of the day, participants received a personal hygiene kit, a warm blanket, and several T-shirts and other items of clothing. Entertainment was provided by a live DJ, live band, and a professional storyteller, Mr. Hatbox. An arts and crafts area sponsored by Project ACT allowed children to make hats, bracelets, and pictures.
    Most of these activities could not have been provided without the support of volunteers. Among many other things, community members, Department of Veterans Affairs staff, and agency representatives served food, gave medical check-ups, disseminated information about services, and distributed fresh produce. According to Josephine Shelton-Towne, VA volunteer coordinator and Team Leader of the VA Silver Pathway Program, over 110 volunteers helped to make the Stand Down run smoothly. Volunteer Doug Jones said he'd "like to volunteer again next year." Jones, vice-president of marketing at Charles Management, who is active in Veteran affairs, added that "it was a beautiful event for a lot of people who needed a good day out."
    Members of the homeless community had mixed reviews of the event. (Angelo). However, a client attending the Homeless Forum on August 29 at the Cosgrove Hunger Center said that the Stand Down "failed to address the serious issues of homelessness"--namely, housing and jobs. Other homeless people at the Homeless Forum commented that the Stand Down should be held more than once a year.
    Despite these criticisms, however, Halfhill remained pleased with this year's effort. "We learned from last year, and this time we were more organized and better prepared." Chip Joseph, co-chair of the Stand Down committee and Director of Emergency Assistance programs for the Catholic Diocese, attributed the success of the Stand Down to a number of things. "I think that the Stand Down was partly successful because of the efforts made by individuals from many different agencies. But the real successes happened in spite of the committee's efforts. The ideas behind the Stand Down made the Stand Down work."
What was most important was that the Stand Down planners did not forget what the day was all about. "We want to treat the homeless with dignity and respect," Halfhill said. "We want to show them that they're not just numbers." Joseph, too, had a message for members of the homeless community: "We'd really like to thank you all for coming." Plans for next year's event will begin within the next few months.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Don't Believe the Stereotypes

Commentary by Donald Whitehead

Like so many others in the land of the free and the brave, sometimes referred to as America, I looked at life through sunglasses. I saw only what I wanted to see, read only what I was supposed to read and did only what I was suppose to do. But a funny thing happened on the way to the fortune 500 Club. I joined the navy and I realized there were people around the globe a lot less fortunate than me and my countrymen here in the land of plenty.

I sought a new direction in my life - I wanted to help. I believe I joined a fight that was very worthwhile, a fight to help save the world from ultimate destruction through the waste and exploitation of our natural resources. I still believe it's a very worthwhile fight and I continue my efforts, though not as strongly. But recently I was touched by an even more desperate and worthwhile fight--the plight of the homeless. Like so many, I was apathetic to the seriousness of this issue because of the misinformation and misrepresentation associated with it. It wasn't until I myself experienced the horror and despair of being homeless that I could fully understand the problem.

I was made to believe that the homeless were worthless bums who just wanted a free handout. After all, how could someone possibly not find a job in the good Ole USA. I thought the face of the homeless was the panhandler who just needed enough for his next drink or drug. True enough, his face is included in the many I see daily as I serve bowls of soup in the Drop-In-Center. But he is a small minority.

The faces I serve are faces of hungry children with tattered clothes, the faces of the mentally handicapped, incapable of gaining the most menial of jobs, the faces of senior citizens, once as productive as you or me. I see the faces of men who fought hard to protect this great country of ours, new victims of the horrors of the carnage they encountered.

I also see the other side - the city council who wants them to move on. Who sees the problem through dollar bills. I see the many vacant buildings, a gold mine for developers, a sanctuary for the homeless.

I have but one goal in writing this article - for each and every person that reads it to come and see for yourself. Get involved. And most of all, don't believe the hype.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Consider the Lilies

by Vera Zlatkin

Consider the Lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toll not, neither do they spin;
And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these.
(Matt: 6: 28 & 29)

Think of the lily and of the rose,
They neither toil nor spin, and yet
The majesty and beauty of them
Touches the very soul of even the hardest of hearts,

And we love them, and cultivate them,
And tend to them, and hold them in highest regard—
Not for what they do or how they conduct themselves,
But for their being alone.

Think of the cat, a totally useless creature,
She toils not neither does she spin, and yet
She stands aloft with independent air
And wins over even the coldest of hearts,

And we love her, and feed her,
And tend to her, and hold her in highest regard—
Not for what she does or how she conducts herself,
But for her being alone.

Think of the infant, helpless and totally dependent,
He toils not to pay for his keep, and yet one smile from him is all it takes
To melt our hearts and brighten our day,

And we love him, and hold him close,
And tend him, and hold him in highest regard—
Not for what he does or how he conducts himself,
But for his being alone.

Think of the homeless, the destitute, the welfare mother,
They toil for naught but to survive, and yet
From them we them we turn our eyes away lest we see their
plight, and our hearts be touched,

And we begin to love them, and nourish them,
And tend them, and hold them in highest regard—
Not for what they do or how they conduct themselves,
But for their being alone.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Concert-Goers Respond to Questions about Homelessness

(The following are excerpts from an interview taken at Lollapalooza '95, an all day-concert at which numerous "progressive," modern rock groups play; it was held at the Blossom Music Center on Saturday, July twenty-second. The interview questions were created by Jennifer Martinez and Jennifer Weir.)
Question 1:
Could you describe the picture that comes to your mind when you think of a homeless person?
"Uh, wow. I don't know. Usually what you see from TV. What everyone else shows ya. They're dirty, unshaven, unkempt same clothes a long time...I don't know...just...you get the idea you get from television...so, it's just a bum."
(Eric, who lives on his own, is nineteen and from Akron.)
"Dirty, smelly, poor."
(Andrew, who has a job and lives at home, is 20 and from Pennsylvania.)
"It could be absolutely anybody...like, I mean...just about...someone who lost their job... someone who can't afford to pay for a house--a mother...kids...a businessman...whatever."
(Bethany, who is employed and goes to school, is twenty-one
and from Rochester NY.)
"Under a bridge."
(Lori, who goes to school, is thirty and from Cleveland.)
"An old man on the streets."
(Becky, who lives at home and goes to school, is sixteen and from Minnesota.)

In reality, women and children are the fastest-growing subgroup of homeless people. In Cleveland, 48 percent of shelter clients are women. There were more than thirty-five thousand homeless children in Ohio in 1991. With General Assistance (GA) cut and changes to Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), these numbers can be expected to increase. The median age of a homeless person in an urban area is 33 years for men, 26 years for women, and 5 years for children. The lack of constant access to toilet facilities goes a long way toward explaining some people's appearance, others are just as well-groomed as the average housed person.

Question 2
If a homeless person asks you for money on the street, would you give it to him/her?
Why or why not?

"No. I give to agencies that help them. But I don't give to people."
(Kally Butler, who is employed and goes to school, is twenty-one
and from Cleveland.)
"Yes, I care about them."
(Becky, Minnesota, sixteen)
"No, don't know them."
(Jennifer, who lives with family and goes to school, is twenty-four
and from Youngstown.)
"Yeah, tell you the truth, I'm real bad about it. I give everyone money. I do it 'cause, I figure, even if you're scammin' me you must need it worse than I do. And...you know...it's just money...money isn't that important as far as I'm concerned."
(Eric, 19, Akron)
"No. Because you don't know what they're doing with their money all the time."
(Lori, 30, Cleveland)

While there are homeless persons with drug and alcohol problems--problems which usually have contributed to their being homeless--only about one in five report drinking often. There is debate as to whether it is better to give to an individual or an agency. Agencies and services are capable of providing the kinds of help an individual needs: food, shelter, clothing, and even referrals to social services and counseling. It may be the case that panhandlers are not even homeless persons at all. Not all homeless persons are panhandlers.

Question 3
Do you think that homeless people are living on the streets by choice or through some fault of their own?
"Their own fault. They aren't trying hard enough."
(Steve, who is living at home and goes to school, is sixteen
and from Erie, Pennsylvania.)
"Neither. Some of them are by choice, maybe. I don't think anyone wants to be homeless. But its not always a fault of your own also, from people I've talked to and everything."
(Eric, 19, Akron)
"Both"
(Brad, who lives at home and is going to school, is 14 and from Cleveland.)
"Neither, they get shafted."
(Carol Bernard, who is going to school, is 24 and from Louisiana.)
"A little of both."
(Clint, who lives on his own and is employed, is 25 and from Massillon.)


More than half of the homeless persons interviewed cited some economic reasons for their homelessness, while only 6 percent said that they liked to move around. Sixty-four percent did not have relatives they could rely on for any help. About 60 percent said they had no friends or could not count on those they had. 90 percent of the homeless persons have an employment history and 30 percent of those interviewed had worked in the past month. Often, the jobs are minimum wage, part time, or temporary. In some shelters, one-fourth or more of the residents are employed. Those employed homeless who work a second shift usually cannot find shelter for the night; by the time they leave off work, the shelters are full and closed. To afford the average one-bedroom apartment requires a full-time job at $7.31 per hour; a two-bedroom requires a full-time income of $8.46 per hour. There is no temporary agency or part-time job that will pay such a starting hourly wage.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Cleveland Works Covers All Employment Bases

by Pat Cichowicz

Hey, Washington! You wanna get people off welfare? Catch this!
First of all, think - why can't people on Welfare get a job? A person who has to use welfare as a means of support can't afford good clothes for working in; is probably in poor health; may have legal problems; probably has children to take care of; and does not have basic job skills.

These are no small obstacles to overcome but Cleveland works takes on all of them. Founded in 1986 under the direction of David Roth, Cleveland Works has implemented an all inclusive, very ambitious program to deal with all the aspects that would keep a person from being gainfully employed. Located in downtown Cleveland in the Caxton Building at 812 Huron, Cleveland works provides candidates with 400 hours of classroom instruction and job retention skills. While enrolled in the program, personal aspects of a candidate's life are dealt with as well.

For the children of candidates there is a child care center that features head-start training 260 days a year for 10 hours a day. Child centered education extends to the whole family. There are parenting courses offered to candidates on child development issues. Topics relating to working parents are covered. One course centers around the ways that family life management may affect job performance.

Cleveland Works has a wellness program that is linked to the Metro Health Downtown Center. It provides physical examinations, drug tests, and primary and preventative care for all sorts of illnesses. In its goal to encourage good health, the medical staff also offers workshops and classes regarding health and nutrition.

Cleveland Works did not originally plan to offer legal services. However, it became evident that one of the major obstacles to employment for candidates was related to severe legal problems. So in 1989 a legal department was started. It averages 4 new cases a day or almost 1000 cases a year. These cases deal with a variety of problems. Spousal abuse, child support enforcement, landlord disputes, and personal brushes with the law are some of the most common cases that are handled. There are two full-time attorneys and three part-time lawyers. Cleveland Works also offers courses to help students understand aspects of the law that may affect their lives.

All these programs are a support system for the actual job training part of Cleveland Works. When a person comes to Cleveland Works for the first time, he/she is interviewed to find out if it will fit their needs. Once accepted, the candidate spends mornings in an extensive 4 week job readiness workshop. Roberta Shears the Executive Assistant, calls it a kind of "Boot Camp." She says, "All candidates are required to treat this training as they would a real job. In other words, they have to dress as if they were going to work and most importantly, be on time." The workshop gives students training in how to market themselves. They fill out applications and practice job interviewing. They even learn how to budget money and time. Education in the afternoon sessions includes academic skills such as Business Math and English as well as technical office skills like typing reports, proofreading and editing. Role playing is used to practice telephone etiquette and proper workplace communication.

Do prospective job candidates have to have a diploma? Patti Campbell, the head of the Marketing Department says, " We try to instill in our candidates the reality of the workplace. And let's face it, all employers want a diploma so we offer GED classes."

Finally, after extensive training, the candidate is ready. So now what happens? There are two recruiters who actively seek out jobs from 600 area employers. They look specifically for jobs above $6.00/hour with benefits. The average starting salary for candidates is around $7.00/hour.
The candidate receives assistance in producing a resume and practices his or her interview techniques. Patti Campbell stresses " Employers want good skills, but also good spelling! No slang. Being on time! Dressing appropriately! These are the realities of the workplace."

The candidate is then invited to choose beautiful dry cleaned clothes with matching shoes and handbags. Jewelry, nylons, and toiletries like deodorant and toothpaste and lotion are provided. All of these are donated by the Ketura Group a professional women's division of the Greater Cleveland Chapter of Hadassah. They call this program " Suited for Success."

After the candidate is hired, he/she is not left alone. For a period of one year, there is a liaison that settles any problems between the employer and employee. Employers like this service and also the fact that the recruiting service saves them time. Cleveland Works is known for its honesty in the job placement field. All references are checked before the candidate comes to a job.

When asked why she does not use her skills as a "head hunter" for big business, Ms. Campbell openly said, " It's the satisfaction I get when I know I've helped someone. Some students come back and tell us of their successes - some have even bought their first house."

Cleveland Works has helped hundreds of people secure jobs resulting in a total of 7,500 individuals being dropped from the welfare roles. So why doesn't everyone who enters the program finish? The answer may be fairly complex. The average student is a 30 year old woman on welfare with 2 children. When a Cleveland Works drop-out who fits that description was asked why she left the program she said that her life was in such turmoil that she did not have the courage to go out on her own. " I had a great amount of fear. I didn't think I could make it," she said. Her life has since settled down and she is working at Dillard's Department store. Was her education at Cleveland Works lost? " I used a lot of what I learned about interviewing and such to get my job," she said. So one of the things Cleveland Works is fighting is the candidate's fear of change. Another may be related to an article written in the March issues of the Free Times by Mark Naymik. It alleged that funding cuts had hampered Cleveland Works which is primarily funded by the Cuyahoga County Department of Employment Services and private donations.

Are these allegations true? Possibly. But when cuts came in the fall of 1994, the staff worked for free until a donation of $100,000 was found. It would be a difficult task to find any business in this current economic climate that does not have some financial problems. Should the Cleveland Works management policies be reviewed? Probably. Should teachers and curriculum be reviewed? Constantly. But again, all effective schools revamp constantly to meet the needs of the students. Is the Cleveland Works program structure a good one? Absolutely. Whenever a program strives to change a person's lifestyle, it confronts a myriad of problems. The overall structure has been copied by 5 other major cities including Los Angeles. Cleveland Works has a 10 year record that says it works!



Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12

Cincinnati Coalition Produces Video to Spotlight Effect of McKinney Cuts

The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless has gone high-tech to curtail the loss of federal homeless funding.

Representatives from seven shelters and social service agencies in Cincinnati helped produce a video to be presented to Ohio's U.S. Senators, John Glenn and Mike DeWine, in hopes they will lead the charge to restore money cut from the McKinney Act.

Hamilton County would receive slightly more than $1 million for homeless shelters and programs under the McKinney Act, but the Senate and House are expected to reduce that allocation by 40 percent.

This video shows administrators and clients of the different agencies detailing what a 40 percent reduction would mean to them. Some say programs or staff would be cut, while Bob Mecum, Executive Director of Lighthouse Youth Services, said clients may be turned away.

Copyright  NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published Oct. – Dec. 1995 Issue 12