County Ombudsman Strives to Empower Homeless Community

by Matt Hayes and Delmarshae Sledge

In 1994 the Citizens of Cuyahoga County Ombudsman Office appointed Roy C. Love as its 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 responds, helps, empowers, insures, provides, assists, and to that end they have 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 in order to address problems that dealt with 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 also holds a BA 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 states that “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 affect upon him. He understands that correcting problems of housing, healthcare, and employment are difficult for one man but still strives to make a difference one person at a time.

This article originally appeared in Issue 11.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine published Spring 1996 – Issue 15