buddy gray made a huge impact on us all

February 19, 1950 – November 15, 1996

By Bonnie Neumeier

buddy gray made a commitment at a very young age to dedicate his life energies to the cause of freedom, justice and peace for all humanity.  He never wavered on that commitment.  To buddy, every person had a face, a name.  He was a man with great passion and soul.  A man who was motivated by his inclusive love and just anger so that we all could live free with basic human rights. 

buddy used all that he was in the service of his vision.  He gave endless hours of dedication/determination because he believed we must be about building a healthier neighborhood and world community for all of us.  Buddy’s life as a revolutionary, a public servant, a poet, a carpenter, a friend, an organizer, an advocate, a prophet, a brother, a keen strategist, a preserver of life, a justice-seeker, a consistent challenger, a planter of trees and flowers, a lover of people, and an enthusiast for the simple joys of life challenged many to take an active part in something so much greater – to be a part of the historic movement for FREEDOM.  He knew that this serious task was not without its difficulty and pain, but the helped many felt the joy in being part of the freedom train.

The strong, life-giving spirit that buddy possessed was felt and impacted many people and places, but his soul lived especially deep in the people and soil of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio.  He walked side by side with us, his neighbors, with little or no resources.  We used all we had in us to claim the right to stay in this land because IT IS OUR HOME that deserves and needs to be respected by the powerful forces who grab our land for their interest in profits.  He had a deep care and compassion for people who are homeless and those with little or no income.  He believed in people’s innate ability to overcome additions and hopelessness. 

He was an advocate of the people to whom he gave hope by what he said and what he did.  He never brushed people off.  buddy worked hard at developing and sharing leadership for he believed in the power of the people.  What he thought was just and right, he took action with others to carry it out.  He knew seeds had to be planted well, planted deep, for our hope lies in the coming together of all of us creating a new world with compassion for all earth’s creatures.

Some of the ways in which he carried out his commitment:

  • He refused to participate in the Vietnam War and actively organized against U.S. participation in the war.
  • He consistently did individual service work: tutoring children, organizing recreation trips for children to area parks; individual advocacy against Welfare Bureaucracy and absentee landlords; assisted with many moving jobs when folks suffered evictions; offered help in fixing space heaters, apartment repair; advocated for people getting Public Assistance; advocated in court for treatment rather than prison.
  • Supported the founding of the Drop Inn Center Shelterhouse for the Homeless and led the effort to stop those who attempted to close it down.   Organized the ShelterHouse Volunteer Group to own and operate the shelter as peoples’ program. 
  • He was active in tenant organizing: advocating for individual tenants’ rights; and organizing tenant strikes.  He assisted in creating Tenant/Landlord legislation both in the State of Ohio and the City of Cincinnati.
  • Was one of three original tenants that founded ReSTOC (Race Street Tenant Organization Cooperative), formed as a non-profit, racially integrated, low-income housing cooperative in order to fix up old buildings long neglected by absentee landlords so that housing for low income people could be preserved and maintained.
  • Helped found the Over-the-Rhine Housing Network, a coalition of non-profit low income housing development corporations in the Over-the-Rhine, united to save housing under community control. 
  • Helped develop and pass the Housing Retention Ordinance in Over-the-Rhine, model legislation that requires public hearings before an apartment building can be demolished. 
  • Worked as on of 13 members to develop Over-the-Rhine Comprehensive Plan which fought to establish a minimum base of 5,520 low income housing units in Over-the-Rhine. 
  • Participated as a trustee since 1978 of the Over-the-Rhine Community Council; chair of its Housing Task Force. 
  • Founded and recent Board member of the National Coalition for the Homeless and organized the founding convention in Chicago in 1983.
  • Founded in Columbus in March 1984 the Coalition for Housing and Homelessness in Ohio, and remained as a Board member.
  • Founded the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, May 1984.  He was active in political action for the rights of homeless people.                

On January 20, 1997, buddy received the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award in Cincinnati.  buddy had many accomplishments to his credit, just as Martin Luther King did.  But neither man is remembered most for the things he accomplished, but rather the vision, hope and DREAM they shared with others.  Both dreamed of a world where all women and men could live and respect each other as equals.  Our greatest tribute to buddy gray and Martin Luther King is to continue the vision they worked so hard to carry out. 

Editor’s Note: On November 16, 1996, buddy gray was shot in his office at the Drop Inn Center by a formerly homeless man with mental problems whom buddy helped off the street.  A memorial fund has been setup to carry on his work.  For more information on buddy gray, Over-the-Rhine, or homelessness in Cincinnati, contact the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

Welcome to the children’s pages

By Susan Peine

Welcome to the children’s pages of this edition of the Homeless Grapevine. In this section, we hope to provide you with a glimpse of the child’s perspective on homelessness.

We questioned children, in and around Cleveland, on their opinions of homelessness. The responses consist of both housed students and students who have currently found themselves in a homeless situation. These particular students range in age from elementary school to high school.

We often think of a child as innocent, perhaps even naïve to the seemingly complex issues of our world. But as you will find from reading these responses, children are very attentive to what goes on around them. Their awareness of problems equals their awareness of how the adults around them deal with or ignore these same problems. As they develop, children ‘s opinions and attitudes are easily influenced by those around them, such as parents, teachers and other mentors, whom they have come to love and respect. Therefore it is essential for us to strive to teach our children responsibility for one another as citizens of our country.

Children understand that a person wandering the streets asking for money may very well be a homeless individual. They also understand that by walking away, ignoring and avoiding contact with that same individual, we are showing them how to ignore the problem of homelessness. When we choose to walk away from that individual on the streets and do not discuss the issue of homelessness with the child, we are teaching them that homelessness is not an issue worth acting upon. When we yell in disgust that the welfare system only supports lazy people who don’t have any desire to work, the children hear and learn.

As citizens of this country we are allowed many individual rights, but as I have been taught those rights come with responsibilities. As long as I have the right to live in a home, so does the man, woman and child on the streets. Because I have been fortunate enough to never have known the injustices of homelessness, I have a responsibility to ensure that our society provides a means for those without homes to enable themselves to have homes.

I have found in giving presentations to students about the issue of homelessness, that they are very interested in discussing the problem. Most are aware of the problem’s existence, though some felt it only a situation found on television. Many do not know the causes of homelessness. Because these students are on their way to becoming the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, we owe to ourselves and our society to teach them to face the issues of homelessness and understand how people find themselves in such a situation.

The voices found on these pages are responses to what we have taught them, what we have shown them and their own conclusions drawn from what they have learned. I think that you will find much optimism in their words, and we are responsible for keeping their optimism alive.

Thank you to all the children who have taken the time to respond to our questions and have developed an interest in the issue of homelessness.

The following are the questions asked of the students and some of their responses:

1) What does homelessness (being homeless) mean to you?

l Homelessness, to me, means being without shelter or being empty hearted.

(Male, age 19, grade 12)

l Homeless means no place to call your own. Nowhere, a person can go for sanctuary or to

feel stable.

(Female, Age 18, Grade 12)

l It’s when you sleep in a church. It’s when you have to go to a friend’s house to stay when you do not have a house.

(Male, Age 7, Grade 1)


2) What would you do if you saw a homeless person or family on the streets?

l I feel bad for them, but if they look like a druggie, I get kind of mad because they are taking money from people to destroy their lives.

Female, Age 13, Grade 8

l Honestly, I do not know. I’ve never been put in that situation. So, I wouldn’t know what I would do.

Female, Age 14, Grade 8

l When I see a homeless person, I think to myself ‘that could be me or my family’ and I am thankful for what I have.

Male, Age 13, Grade 8


3) How would you feel if you or your family became homeless?

l I would be very upset. I would be mad at everybody because this happened.

Female, age 13, Grade 8

l I would be worried so much. I probably couldn’t sleep at night. I would try to get a job to make a little money.

Male, Age 14, Grade 8


4) How can you help to end homelessness?

l I can help to end homelessness by helping to spread information about it, to let people know

the truth about homelessness.

Female, Age 18, Grade 12

l That’s a hard question, there’s so many things that we can do. I think the best thing is to give money to churches to help feed the homeless.

Male, Age 13, Grade 8

l I don’t think I could do much by myself but if a lot of people get together, I think it can be stopped.

Female, Age 13, Grade 8

l I think the answer is simple. You can help the homeless by building more houses.

Female, Age 17, Grade 12


5) Additional comments made by students about the topic of homelessness.

l I used to think homeless people were all really bad. Some are, but many of them are kids and just regular people who lost their house.

Female, Age 13, Grade 8

l I didn’t realize the complications and details of being homeless.

Female, Age 13, Grade 8

l I think everyone should know what homelessness is and should read the Grapevine

Male, Age 8, Grade 3

l I think more attention needs to be brought to the subject. I hope that sooner or later the community can do something about it.

Male, age 19, Grade 12

l I think that people with homes should remember that homeless people were probably just like them. Never down a homeless person either.

Female, Age 17, Grade 12

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Violence Destroys Households

by Melissa W.

      Domestic violence has proven to be a major cause of homelessness both in Cleveland and nationally. Every year, literally thousands of battered women fleeing violence to protect themselves and their children are forced to live in shelters or on the streets.
Statistics show that in America 1500 women a year are killed by an abusive male partner. Equally disturbing is the fact that domestic violence is the greatest cause of serious injury to American women, and that roughly 21,000 domestic crimes against women are reported every week. There are more than one million assaults, murders and rapes in a year. It is estimated that, including unreported crimes, there are an estimated 1.8 to 4 million incidents of domestic violence a year. Sources vary on the estimates.
      The real story is not the numbers, but the human consequences of domestic violence. It is estimated that almost every person in the United States has contact with an abuser or a victim of domestic abuse. It is largely a hidden crime. Leaders in the community may secretly abuse their spouses. Only in the last few years has the practice of abuse come under national scrutiny with high profile cases exploding in the media.

       The Gender Bias Committee's Domestic Violence Study showed that the injuries that battered women receive are at least as serious as the injuries suffered in 90 percent of violent felony crimes, yet under State law, they are almost always classified as misdemeanors.

       There are many complex issues surrounding domestic violence, such as: Why do women stay in a violent relationship? Why do men batter? Why does the court system seem to let abusers off lightly? And should domestic violence become a criminal act against the State, like child molesting?

        When a woman is faced with a life-threatening abuser, she may only have the option of living in a shelter or on the streets in order to escape the violence.
And it's not only her home and belongings that she's forced to leave behind. She may even have to give up her job, her friends, and her lifestyle. At least 74 percent of battered women who work report that they are harassed on the job by their abusers.
        As a safety precaution, they often have to leave behind their siblings, friends, homes and jobs in order to start fresh in a new part of town. Moving out of a violent household and staying with a friend or relative doesn't always lead to successful new start. The batterer usually knows where to find his victim and will usually do whatever it takes to convince her to come back to him. When she does, he continues to abuse her - physically, verbally, sexually or emotionally.
      Michelle Clay, Domestic Violence coordinator for the East Side Emergency Shelter in Cleveland, explained how difficult it is to help victims who have jobs: "If a woman wants to make a clean break from an abusive partner, then unfortunately, she may have to give up her job because her abuser will follow her from her work to her new home so that he can harass her again."
      There are seven shelters in Cleveland which cater to homeless women and their children. Two of these shelters have comprehensive support programs to help victims of domestic violence.
      Templum House is one such shelter and its Executive Director, Diana Cyganovich, said that during her ten years with the agency she has seen a rise in the number of victims seeking refuge at the shelter. "When I started here we were not full for weeks at time, but now we don't have empty beds for more than a day or two. When they are empty it's because a family has just left," she said.
      Templum House can accommodate 28 women and children. Annually, it provides shelter for roughly 400 people. Approximately 90% of these women and children are victims of domestic violence. And in two other homeless shelters contacted in Cleveland, around 65% of women and children are victims of domestic violence.
Every year, Templum receives over 17,000 crisis calls from women in the local area. The shelter's legal help program serves over 1,500 women, and helps around 500 women to take their batterers to court.
      "After a woman gets a civil protection order she can also attempt to get her batterer ordered out of their home, but she would have to show evidence that there's been physical violence or that she's in danger," said Cyganovich. "Even if she succeeds, she will never be permanently free of him because the order is only temporary."
      "I think judges are getting more knowledgeable about the safety issue, and probably in most cases where a court order is needed, one has been granted. I have found that more women are seeking to get their abusers court-ordered out of the house."
If the court awards the woman the residency of the home, she can still be at risk by staying there. "There is a chance that the partner will come back after the court has ordered him out," said Cyganovich. "There is not 24-hour police protection for the victim. After all the court order is just a piece of paper."
      "It depends on what the abuser feels he has to gain by violating the order," she explained. "Some partners are abusive but otherwise obey the laws of the land."
"There are some alarm systems being used which warn the victim if the batterer is coming near her home. He would wear a bracelet which would set off a signal in the victim's house, warning her and the police that he is too near the house. But nothing is totally foolproof - the bracelet could be broken off and the police may not get to the house in time."
      Courts can evict an abuser from the household, but many judges believe that evicting the batterer violates his due process rights and that, even after notice, it is unfair to subject him to hardship, even though he beats his wife.
In one tragic case, which underlines the weaknesses of this type of court order, a judge ruled that an abusive husband was allowed to stay living in the same house as his wife but was banned from entering her bedroom. Shortly after the court hearing the husband killed his wife.
      "We have fairly good laws in the state of Ohio, but how they are enforced and interpreted, and who's giving the message and how that person delivers that message to an abusive person, that's a lot different," Cyganovich explained.
"In my experience, some judges are very strong with everybody and the message to the abuser is very clear. The abuser's actions are wrong and he is solely responsible for his behavior. Meanwhile, in other court rooms the message is not clear at all," she added.
      According to a report prepared for the Ford Foundation, 50 percent of all homeless women and children in this country are fleeing domestic violence.
Dawn, who is 24-year-old mother of two, had been physically battered and verbally abused by her husband for six years. In 1994, she finally found the strength to say enough is enough when her husband turned his abusive attention to their two young children.
      "You name it, he did it," explained Dawn, "but when my children were witnessing the violence and then becoming the subjects of it, I had to get out of the relationship. And I knew once I left there would be no turning back. It had got to the stage where if I didn't leave, one of us would get killed, either him killing me or me killing him in self defense. I left my nice home with its lovely, big yard and all of my belongings."
Dawn's relationship with her husband started off on seemingly normal terms. "If I'd known what signs to look for, then I could have prevented the relationship. At first he was just very jealous. If a guy looked at me he would get mad and start calling me derogatory names. It was mostly verbal abuse at the beginning."
      "Then it got worse. I learned to cope with the different abuses as each one was dealt, and at the same time I was becoming isolated from my friends and family. While the battering was happening I felt too embarrassed to tell my parents and friends about it. His parents witnessed the violence but chose to ignore it."
      In desperation Dawn looked in the telephone directory and found a hotline number for domestic violence victims, which put her in touch with Templum House.
"I was terrified of going to a shelter. I thought it would be like living in a gym with lots of cots everywhere and with all sorts of strange people in them, but it's not like that at all," Dawn remembered.
      "The staff at the shelter was really kind and the residents were very nice. I think my children, who [were] aged three and four years at the time, thought it was like a vacation. They would ask when we were going home." "I couldn't stay with any of my friends or relatives, or even tell them where I was going because there was a chance my husband would find me. He calls my mom to try and find out where I'm living."
Dawn wanted to press charges at the time of her escape, but later, after fearing for her own and her children's safety, she thought it would be better to be left alone.
She said, "The woman is always in a difficult position. If she presses charges she runs the risk of being attacked by her abuser. If someone else, such as the State, were allowed to bring charges against her abuser, even if she refuses, then again the abuser will blame her. In the eyes of the batterer it's always his partner's fault."
Dawn stayed at the shelter for two months and then she spent a year in Family Transitional housing. During this time she has gained help from one of Templum's many counseling programs.
      Templum House saw the need to provide a good support network for women after they made the initial escape from an abusive partner. The additional support has been instrumental in helping women live independently from a violent partner.
"We realized more had to be done than just providing beds in the shelter, because once the women and children left the shelter they were returning to their homes and their violent partners because they had nowhere else to go," said Cyganovich.
"We aim to keep women and children together. We encourage women, through our support network, to help them become independent. A staff member will go with the victim's children to make sure they are enrolled in their new school."
      It has been some time since Dawn escaped her violent husband. She has, with the help from Templum, successfully started a new life for herself and her children in a new home, which she is renting to own. Furthermore, she has returned to college and is proving to be an excellent student.
      Cyganovich believes that there is a need for a major shift in people's thinking to overcome domestic violence. She said, "In this society we promote male aggression and violent behavior, and as long as we continue to do that and raise our kids to buy into this belief system, then we are going to continue to have a problem and the police aren't going to be able to solve it."
      "We do have a problem challenging abusers, and a part of that is because we see some of ourselves in them. So we have a lot of trouble when cases are brought before the court and the person looks like your neighbor, your co-worker or your buddy. We have a hard time accepting that that person can be very abusive to his partner and children," Cyganovich surmised.
      Templum House also provides a counseling program for abusive individuals: "Not only do we have to change their behavior," said Cyganovich, "but we also have to change an attitude and a belief system which drives it. And that's hard to do."
      Changing people's belief system is important, but many advocates believe that, in addition, domestic violence should be treated as a crime against society.
      "The Supreme Court recently had an opportunity to support the philosophy that this is a crime, and that the prosecutor, on behalf of the state, would have the power to proceed with the case even if the victim has had a change of heart," said Cyganovich. "But instead the Supreme Court went with the trial judge who said that the judge could dismiss the case if the victim wanted to back out, regardless [of whether] the prosecutor wanted to go ahead or not."
      Unlike many cases, Dawn's had a positive ending. But it seems that if a victim wants to lead a non-violent life she has to give up everything to stand a chance of gaining it.
And if a woman stands up and fights her case, not only does she run the risk of losing her life, but she has to struggle with a court system that is just waking up to the issue and with society's attitude towards violence within the home.

     Editor's Note: For more information about volunteering or services call 631-2275 for Templum House or 391-HELP for the Domestic Violence Hotline.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

stanley buddy gray

A Deep Love of the Homeless, A Strong Sense of Rights of the Poor
by Kate Uhlir

      As Trinity Cathedral's evening bell tolled November 20, its upper room, full of prayerful homeless supporters, recalled their friend, stanley buddy gray, 46, who was shot and killed in Cincinnati's Drop Inn Center, an Over-the-Rhine shelter he founded 23 years ago. All Cleveland shelters turned off all lights for a minute of silent prayer that evening - their small memorial for a giant idol.


Gray, known as, "buddy gray," spelled his name with lower case letters and was considered the strongest and most articulate voice for the homeless in the United States. The Plain Dealer quoted Lemuel Israel, 42, a Cincinnati Grapevine vendor who lives in a treatment center, "My first thought was that it's over now. We don't have a chance."


Bryan Gillooly, former director of Northeast Coalition for the Homeless, remembered gray's philosophy, "Respect for the poor sometimes requires standing in the way of (a big city's commercial building) progress. In fact, I never knew what to expect when people asked me if I knew buddy. He could easily offend you to death when he talked about the injustice of homelessness and poverty."

Gillooly emphasized that the homeless and the poor, as well as the shelter community, could always rely on gray's loud voice and strong action. Several times gray was jailed for chaining himself to buildings in order to prevent demolition of low-income housing.


A poem, "Acquainted With the Nite," published in Ohio's Homeless Grapevine the day he died, was gray's final shout for justice.

At Trinity, Cleveland shelter leader, Sister Donna Hawk, C.S.J., asked, "Is this the end of an era?" She lowered her head and wiped her eyes and recalled gray's ardent, relentless and intimidating advocacy. "He was passionate, with a deep love for the homeless; a strong sense of the rights of the poor. Who can speak for the poor like buddy spoke? [He] didn't make friends of politicians."

Sister Mary Frances Harrington, C.S.J., Executive Director of Cleveland's Family Transitional Housing Inc. recalled, "Somehow buddy always got homeless people to the Coalition [Coalition for the Homeless and Housing in Ohio] meetings every month. He'd come through the door with his hair in a long pony tail and a couple of homeless people on each arm."

Friends provided additional insight into gray's sentiments. "If you have two pair of shoes, that's too many when there are homeless." "He was always giving 200% to the poor."

"He never let you down." He believed in justice and diversity," stated fellow COHHIO Board member, Sharon Parries, Associate Director of Transitional Housing.

Sister Donna continued her prayer, "Let nothing in buddy's life be lost. He was passionate. buddy wasn't afraid of anything. He always called a spade a spade. Was his death a waste? Or a wake-up call?"

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Sea of Tranquility

You are my calm in this raging storm,
You are the anchor I cling to.
I see images of us together,
I know we'll share our dreams forever.

We lay beneath the weeping willow,
I don't ever want you to go.
We'll share our most intimate thoughts,
We'll build a future together.

We'll travel around the world,
See Paris, Rio, and Venice.
Swim among the colorful coral,
And watch the sun go down.

I'll cherish our memories always,
Until our dying days.
We'll leave a living legacy
Of the love and laughter we shared.

Our children will look back fondly
And have something to strive for.
They'll gaze upon our happy picture
And wish us lasting joy forever.

by Kristina Gorican
Kristina Gorican is a Cincinnati area poet.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Report Finds Cities Are Increasingly Criminalizing Homelessness and Poverty

A growing number of cities are turning to the criminal justice system as a means of addressing homelessness, a report from the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty finds. “Mean Sweeps” examines the progress of this trend in the 50 largest cities in the United States.

Mean Sweeps updates a 1994 Law Center report on the criminalization of homelessness by local governments, finding that government actions taken to restrict homeless people’s use of public space and begging have increased in many cities during the past two years.

The new report includes information on numbers of homeless persons, shelter beds, housing costs, minimum wage levels, and public assistance available in the cities. By city officials’ own estimates, in virtually every city the number of homeless people greatly exceeds the number of emergency shelter and transitional housing spaces.

The report found:

  • · 38% of the cities have initiated crackdowns on homeless people in the past several years.
  • · 54% of the cities have engaged in recent police “sweeps” of homeless people.
  • · 77% of the cities for which information was available have ordinances that prohibited or restricted begging.

During the last four years, 31% of the cities for which information was available have enacted new ordinances or amended existing ones to restrict begging.

Five cities are named as having the “meanest streets” due to their clear intention to expel their homeless residents from their city limits or for their concerted, focused efforts to restrict harshly their homeless residents’ use of public spaces. The cities are Atlanta, San Francisco, New York, Dallas, and San Diego.

Cleveland was a part of this list last year, but was taken off the list this year in part because of the harsh tactics that other cities had adopted. Two lawsuits that the Coalition for the Homeless filed have temporarily curtailed the City of Cleveland’s aggressive response to criminalizing homelessness. Cleveland was listed as softening its approach to homeless people because of legal action taken by the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

Legal challenges to anti-homeless laws have had mixed results. Courts have struck down ordinances or portions of ordinances on the grounds that they violate the constitutional rights of homeless people. Other courts have upheld ordinances or city practices.

The use of law enforcement to address public concerns about homelessness are counterproductive. They undermine homeless people’s efforts to escape poverty by creating fines and/or criminal records. They are also fiscally inefficient and wasteful of cities’ scarce fiscal resources.

The daily cost of detaining an individual in jail — not including police resources involved in arrest and processing— is roughly 25% higher than the daily cost of providing shelter, food, transportation and counseling services combined.

“These ordinances are inhumane,” said Maria Foscarinis, the Executive Director of the law center. “By penalizing people for innocent, necessary, life-sustaining conduct, cities are essentially punishing people simply for being homeless.”

Several cities have enacted more constructive alternatives to addressing public concerns about homelessness.

In Cincinnati there seems to be a growing perception that homeless people are an “eyesore,” according to the report. The report talked about the anti-panhandling ordinance, and harassment of Grapevine vendors.

In West Hollywood, the city has created an innovative community-policing program that uses service providers rather than police officers to make the first contact with homeless persons.

In response to the lack of public toilet facilities in downtown Seattle, the city offered to fund a public “hygiene center” that would provide public toilets, showers and laundry facilities free of charge for use by homeless people and other city residents.

Tucson, Arizona created a standing committee of advocates for homeless people, city government officials, and police representatives to which the city refers complaints about homeless people “camping” in certain areas in an effort to resolve complaints before taking law enforcement action.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Random Thoughts About Homelessness

This is an interview with Melvin Bryant aka Buzzy about being homeless and what his thoughts are about homelessness.

Grapevine: Buzzy, could you talk about homelessness from your perspective?

Buzzy:            If you’re a hustler my man, your work has just begun. They say you’re homeless brother, all right? I’ve been homeless for approximately five years, on and off. I’ve really been homeless ‘cause I stayed out in the streets the majority of my life. I became homeless mainly because I got tired of the hum drum of society and always being in the institution, going to work, doing things that I thought were unnecessary or contrary to what I believe in.

Grapevine: Like what?

Buzzy:            Like going to work from nine to five, making somebody else, richer while I got poorer. So I thought of, or took a lot of business ventures, things where I could be my own boss, do what I wanted to do, get up when I wanted to get up. Then I have nobody to depend on or responsibilities of having to pay rent, light, gas and all those things that most normal, they say ‘normal,’ people have to do in order to be good Americans. So that is what I did. I got out of that kind of life and I adopted my own kind of life. I also ran into a lot of things that have helped me mature as a person because I have seen the down side and the good side of homeless.

Grapevine: ...of mankind, could it be of mankind in general?

Buzzy:            Nooo, homelessness, homelessness is not just mankind. Homelessness is just a.., at one time…, it was just a thing where…, could I talk about white society?

Grapevine: You could talk about anything you want.

Buzzy: the majority of society...

Grapevine: Just say white society.

Buzzy: Okay, white society in America wanted to...when homelessness was a majority of white people on the streets panhandling with their families, we had a whole lot of Sixty Minutes [news coverage]. Every talk show in the world was talking about being homeless. Homelessness this, homelessness that, everyone wanted to do something about homelessness.

They got programs so everybody could get homes, homeless people could get jobs. They made a movie about being homeless called Down and Out in Beverly Hills. That was supposed to show the plight of homeless and this, that and the other, what homeless people did for a living. They ate out of garbage cans, they drink in order to stay warm in the winter time, sometimes to get away from the plight of being homeless. Alcohol seems to take them from being homeless back to where they were when they had homes, when things were all peachy keen.

Another thing, the people that I have met and the things society has done since the black minority has now become the majority of homeless, there are things being done but you don’t hear all of the hoopla. What was heard before is silent. Everyone is trying to cut out all of the programs enforced for the homeless. You once were able to sleep in the parks year round. Now they don’t want the homeless sleeping in the parks no more. In the big cities, like Cleveland, where it is building up into a metropolis, they don’t want the middle class, the upper middle class, to come downtown and see the homeless people lying on the streets. But this here is a fact of life. There are a lot of people that are homeless.

Grapevine: Do you think people are like this because society got tired of trying to solve the homeless problem and got frustrated with the lack of success or because the majority of homeless individuals today are the minority, or black?

Buzzy:            To me that is what it is. Today, the majority of homelessness is black homelessness. Because there are a lot of black homeless people, even though they have a lot of hunger centers, a year ago they introduced the voucher system. A lot of people that are homeless now are mentally ill or very into some kind of substance abuse which keeps them in the plight of being homeless. Because they have to panhandle to make their money, they have to go to temporary jobs. As soon as they make their money at the job, they go someplace to cash their check. They cash their check at a liquor store/check cashing place, so as soon as they cash their check, they are right there to trigger their disease of being alcoholics.

            It is one thing after another. Some people get into a routine of doing something over and over again. You become conditioned. You feel like the guys that live in shelters, they go to temp. jobs in the day, back to shelters at night. They sit around playing cards, talking about the good old days when they were doing this, doing that, they become stuck. Once you are stuck in this routine, it is very hard to get out of that routine. Though I have seen a lot of people who have tried to break the cycle of homelessness. Even them, they run into little obstacles, whether it be the mayor of the city or the place were no one wants low income families because it would bring their neighborhoods down.

            The thing is, the people that are homeless in Cleveland are African Americans. The only ones that tend to help are majority white society, Catholic Centers, churches that are affiliated on the west side. There are hardly any places that a homeless person, or African American, can go to on the east side. Some have been displaced where they are, from the east side, but everything is on the west side. If they want services they have to go to the west side.

Grapevine: Do you think this is because black people for whatever reason do not get involved or because they do not have the resources to give, where white people have more resources in general to provide for people? Do you think it is a matter of apathy by black people or do you think it is a matter of economics or resources?

Buzzy:            I think it is apathy. I do not think it is the resources because maybe a long time ago in society, blacks did not have the resources, but blacks are economically stable now. They have organizations that do and make money. Seventy percent of athletes and entertainers in America are black. What do they do with their money?

            They don’t put it back into their communities where they came from. They do not help the communities where they came from. Ninety percent of them come from these communities. Ninety percent did not come from the suburbs. They just got out of the inner city. When they got out of the inner city and became famous, they started making their money. They give nothing that would be beneficial to the African American population as a whole. Some do a few things like pass out turkeys at Christmas time, but how many are doing things that are advantageous to their communities? Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neil, Albert Belle are making ‘X’ amount of millions, but no one is doing anything with these millions but putting themselves in the limelight. So they would be in society’s limelight.

Grapevine: Where are young black men who advocate for the homeless?

Buzzy:            Young black men have no leaders. Young black men have nobody to look up to but sports figures. Because they have no leaders, they are only into listening to their crazy gangster rap or they are into becoming the biggest drug dealer in the neighborhood. They have lost all respect for their people. They look at people lower than themselves as no one to care about. African Americans have lost their sense of unity. They do no believe in ‘Umgowa,’ black power, anymore. They believe in every man for himself and God for us all.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Program Attempts to Reduce Homelessness

by Maryann Smith

The following are actual case scenarios. For confidentiality, names, dates, and some details have been omitted or changed.

Scenario #1

A single mother of two children contacted the Cleveland Mediation Center requesting assistance because her landlord started an eviction action and wanted her to vacate the property. The woman was two months behind in rental payments. The woman was given general information on the eviction process as well as information on using mediation services to prevent the eviction altogether.

The woman was a long time employee at a local manufacturing plant and had suffered a heart attack two months earlier. The company she worked for did not provide sick time benefits. Because she was unable to work due to the heart attack, she did not receive pay for that period. Her relationship with the landlord was poor to begin with so she never told him of her illness. Additionally, she had made a number of complaints about repairs including poor plumbing, heating, and faulty electricity.

Cleveland Mediation Center contacted the landlord, who agreed to meet with his tenant along with two volunteer mediators to try and work out the problems. In the mediation session, the landlord agreed to forgive half the late rent, drop the eviction and fix all repairs in one month. Both parties agreed to dates and times when the landlord would make these repairs and inspect the property. The tenant also agreed to communicate with the landlord about problems which may arise in the future including late rent payments. The Cleveland Mediation Center agreed to provide funds to pay for the remainder of the delinquent rent.

Scenario #2

            John was being evicted from his apartment. His roommate unexpectedly moved out the day before the rent was due, leaving John responsible for the entire $350.00 (which he did not have). If John were evicted, he would end up on the street. Unfortunately, John’s Social Security/disability income for the month was already spent on utilities and other essentials.

  John was referred to the Cleveland Mediation Center’s Homeless Prevention Program through a neighborhood social service agency. CMC contacted the landlord, Phil, who agreed to meet with John along with a mediator. The mediator guided John and his landlord through the mediation process which resulted in the following agreements:

1) Tenant agreed to pay half of the late rent the following month

2) A rental agreement was signed by both parties

3) Cleveland Mediation Center agreed to pay the second half of the late rent

4) Landlord agreed to drop the eviction action

            Si usted necesita servicios gracias de mediacion y resolver conflictos en Espanol, 771-7297 comuniquese con Isabelita Caminero en el Centro de Mediacion de Cleveland.

Editor’s Note: If you are in danger of being evicted and need help or want more information about the Homeless Prevention Program, please call Marianne Smith (216) 771-7297 or stop by at 3000 Bridge Avenue.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Praise for Grapevine

Dear Homeless Grapevine,

This is a wonderful idea.

I was in Cleveland this past Sunday doing all these amazing things that I’ve never done before (seeing a castle in one of the Metroparks, going to the art museum, eating in a Middle Eastern restaurant) and I had almost forgotten that a year and a half ago I was eating out of dumpsters and sleeping in the park. Then I met a very nice gentleman by the name of Antoine who handed me a copy of the Grapevine. I gave him a dollar, we talked for a few minutes, and then I went home to my nice warm bed with my belly full and a half a pack of cigarettes and five dollars in my pocket.

This paper is such a wonderful thing because you’re giving people on the street an opportunity to make money without putting themselves in danger. You’re giving street people a voice, which is so important because when you’re on the street you don’t even feel human, and you’re giving people like me the opportunity to feel like I’m giving something back and maybe making a real difference.

I don’t feel completely human yet. To be honest, I’m only fifty bucks away from the street every month. Every day is scary and people here don’t really understand, You’ve made me feel a little safer.         

Sincerely,

Mae

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

On the Road Again

by Patricia Cichowicz

I always ride in the front of the bus where I can see where I’m going and I can check out all the people getting on the bus. I guess it is just part of my nosy nature. Well, Saturday was one of those bone chilling days. You know that a cold wind downtown is like no other cold wind in the city. This old guy got on the bus with his cane. He had “the look.” You know that look of someone who’s been on the streets for years — no hat, funky clothes, and tennis shoes with lumps that were feet, but obviously deformed ones.

Well, he sits down besides me and tells the driver he’s got to count his change. I peek and see that he’s got 36 cents. So I slip him a buck. He winks at me and says, “Young lady, would you mind putting my fare in the box? I always have a hard time walking when the bus is moving.” Then he smiled. We had a chat about the weather and then I had to get off.

Later I got to thinking that using busses must be a major way for the homeless to get out of the cold. I began asking bus drivers about their feelings about the homeless and what they do when someone gets on the bus with no money. Some drivers weren’t very talkative and said things like, “This ain’t no hotel.” But most drivers I talked to had sympathy for the fix the homeless are in. One driver said that he let them take their time getting the money out but eventually he has to ask for it. “After all,” he said, “it’s my job. The other people on the bus may get angry if I don’t and report me.”

One bus driver said he had favorite homeless people that he watched out for. He said that he always checked up on one lady that spent the night outside the drugstore on 9th and Rockwell. “She was a nice lady. I liked her. She’s dead now,” he said.

Knowing that busses are under government controls, I decided to call and find out the policy RTA had for homeless riders and if there were any programs for them. As it turns out there are cheap ways for any low-income person to use RTA.

I spoke to some customer service people at RTA and found out the scoop. At first, I thought that I had made them a little defensive with my opening question of “How do you feel about homeless people riding on your busses without money to pay the fare?” “Well, RTA is a business and we all pay a 1% income tax to run it,” the voice said. “And, we have to consider the feelings of all our customers. But, let me tell you some ways we do make it easier for low income people to use RTA.”

According to Federal guidelines, there are 504 programs offered to low income riders. The person must obtain a photo ID for $3 and have some statement from a health professional to indicate need. A wide range of things are accepted here. It may be something from a social worker, the VA administration, a doctor, an epilepsy clinic, etc.

“We take anything from the VA. We want to take care of our veterans,” she said. The ID will allow a person to ride any bus, express bus, or rapid for 50 cents. There is also an all day pass for $4 that is good ‘til 3:00am. One could buy it ahead of time and use it whenever it gets really cold. One other way to beat the cost of bus fare is to get an “offpeak” pass. It costs $7.50 for a week’s riding. It is good from 9:30 am-3:00 pm and 7:00pm - 6:30am. The only hitch with this option is that you have to have ridden one time that day at peak hours.

“Gee,” I said to the lady, “You have been very helpful. This is great information. What is your name?” “Lott,” she said, “but I’m not in charge here. You had better talk to Mike Conway. He’s really our spokesperson. I used to work with the Coalition when I worked at Channel 8,” she said. Continuing, she said, “I know all about how hard it is for the economically disadvantaged. I want you to know that we try hard to be an affordable means of transportation. We are in our 5th year of not raising fares. And we give it our best to meet the needs of all our customers, even the low-income riders. I know that a lot of our riders have feelings toward the homeless. Some volunteer at food shelters and you know that we have a food drive in winter at RTA where we encourage everyone to give food for the food banks. We honestly try to service everyone in a quality manner at RTA.”

Well, that is it. If you’ve got a need to ride cheaply—get a $3 ID. It is one way to see the sights of the city and beat those chilly winter winds.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Local Color

Behold
The noble savages
How charming
They bare their teeth
In freeloading hostility
How crooked
Like the river
Is their pork
Barrel politics
As they slaughter
The hog
In the Cuyahoga again
And again
The children
Of the crime
Of poverty
Children of the stars
Of the night
And the city
Witness as victims
This feeding frenzy
Drown in its gaudy
River of blood
Even the god
Of the plaques
In Egypt
Demanded only
The first-born

Daniel Thompson

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine

published January – February 1997 Issue 19

JOBS, JUSTICE, HOUSING NOW!

by Spencer

There were probably more people in the room at the Drop Inn Center than would comfortably fit under normal circumstances, but today people wanted to be close and share their memories and their grief. Friends of buddy’s passed along narrow paths between knots of folks talking quietly, shaking hands, hugging, crying, comforting. One woman came up to me and said, “You gave me shock. From the back, I thought you was buddy. The last time I saw him [he] was laying there, not moving.” Staff of the Drop Inn Center were slipping into new T-shirts bearing buddy’s likeness and the message: WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED.

The march stepped off promptly at Noon from 12th and Elm with the words “Buddy would have loved this” and a thousand people set forth to walk the streets lined with hand painted posters, escorted by police who stopped traffic and followed respectfully by the media. The pace of the march varied, speeding up when the street was wide and slowing to a crawl when folks bunched up on narrow side streets, lined with buildings that ReStoc and other community organizations had strived to save.

The crowd of black, white, poor and middle-class folks walked largely in silence, often with heads bowed, joyless...but determined. “Jobs” said one sign on a building. “JUSTICE” cried out another sign. “Housing NOW” proclaimed a second floor banner. We passed a community garden and a number of churches as we wound our way to Washington Park, where buddy’s friends gathered to remember his life and their struggles.

At a gazebo in the park, speaker after speaker called upon the crowd to take up the fight that buddy had put down so suddenly and so involuntarily. The choir sang “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest.” Buddy’s aggrieved brother compared buddy’s life to the life of Jesus. In a moving speech, the director of the Drop Inn Center which buddy founded in 1974, told the crowd a story about a media personality who told her cameraman, “Oh, that’s nobody “ referring to a Drop Inn Center employee.” The director went onto say that no one makes sure that the hungry are fed, that the light bills are paid and that the homeless are brought in from the cold. “We are all no one.”

Buddy’s life was seized and destroyed by a neighbor and former client of the Drop Inn Center who came into buddy’s office and shot him—ostensibly to stop the voices in his head that told him to kill buddy gray.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Investigation Underway Regarding Death

by Donald Whitehead

Though death is a reality for all that are born in the world, sometimes it seems that by some act of kindness, it could have just possibly been prevented. The nightmare of day-to-day existence for homeless individuals in this country is even scarier in the winter. The winter brings new demons to deal with and new dangers to avoid. Sometimes those demons catch up and the dangers are unavoidable.

On one evening in December, Mr. Ottoway Washington was discovered unconscious and bleeding in an alley by a security guard at Tender Mercies, a transitional housing facility for homeless individuals suffering from mental illness. The security guard flagged down a police car and informed an officer of Mr. Washington’s situation. The officer proceeded on his way, promising to check out the situation. Several hours later the security guard, making his rounds again, was shocked to find Mr. Washington lying in the exact same place in the exact same position. There was one difference, however; this time Mr. Washington was dead.

Mr. Washington’s death seems to have been, to say the least, preventable. The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless has asked the Cincinnati City Council and the Safety Director for a full-scale investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Washington’s death and the conduct of the officer that received the report on his condition.

Our office received a response from Mayor Roxanne Qualls promising that our request for a full-scale investigation would be honored. At press time calls to the safety Director’s office were answered with information stating that the investigation was being handled by the internal investigations unit. More information will be provided in a future edition of the Homeless Grapevine.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

How Can I Make An Impact?

by Angelo Anderson

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year... Happy Holidays. It’s amazing how such simple greetings can change the attitude of the most reluctant giver. That person who would normally pass a needy person by on the street, or pass by someone trying to sell the Grapevines in an effort to improve themselves becomes more generous at this time of year.

It seems to be the time of the year which those who have are more aware of those who have not. Be it concern, compassion, or simply guilt, charitable giving definitely increases during the holiday season. According to a report in the October 28, 1996 New York Times, charitable giving rose to 23.5 billion dollars in 1995, and that a disproportional amount of that giving was done during the holiday season.

It is a wonderful thing that people give so much during this one month of the year. But it must be understood that during the other 11 months of the year people continue to starve, and sleep on the streets. There is still a lack of affordable housing and people die on the streets trying to survive in their homeless environment.

If this country continues to develop low paying, minimum wage jobs and supplying an inadequate supply of housing for the economically poor, the homeless population will continue to grow, affecting more Americans than ever. This is the real deal for the other 11 months of the year.

Charity during the holiday season should continue but try some of the following during the other parts of the year:

  • Coat and glove drives before the winter season.
  • Year round food drives (not just during the holiday season)
  • Join groups like Habitat for Humanity that are working on providing adequate housing.
  • Write legislators asking why more legislation is not in place to reduce poverty.
  • Contact city officials to find out why building which have not been used in years are not being used to help the homeless.
  • Fight against the “Not in my Backyard” mentality whenever a shelter or service is opened in your neighborhood.
  • Educate yourself about the causes of homelessness and become more active in the fight to end it.

If we can find a way to call a cease-fire to all the petty wars and conflicts, if we can call for people to join hands in peace and brotherhood during the holidays, then why can’t we find a way to combat the problems that confront us everyday? Let’s make an effort to take the spirit of holiday giving and make it an all year event.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Homeless Ready for Trial Against Cleveland


      On October 4, 1994, members of the homeless community with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union as well as the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland to seek protection from the courts for a policy by the City of Cleveland of dumping homeless people on the outskirts of the city.
      Four homeless individuals were willing to risk possible police retaliation and put their names on this lawsuit to reverse this unconstitutional policy of picking up and dumping homeless people. This dumping was not confined to these four individuals, but they were the four that were willing to stand up for their rights to freely move in the downtown area.
      After two years of depositions and an extremely difficult discovery process, the City of Cleveland refused to settle this lawsuit, and a trial date has been set for February 18, 1997.
      The homeless and the ACLU contend that to combat a perceived panhandling problem in the Downtown area and the Flats they set a police van aside to pick up homeless people against their will, and transport them to distant locations (usually off the bus route). Brian Davis, Director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless said, "This was not confined to a few rouge police officers, but a broad policy to deliver the message that panhandling is unacceptable in Cleveland. This was an attempt to use extra legal measures to slam the door on panhandling because of its impact on downtown businesses."
      One of the plaintiffs has said that not every homeless person was dumped during this time. He claims that the city set up "sacred ground" in which panhandlers and homeless people were not welcome. These off limit sites included Gateway, the Tower City side of Public Square, and the Flats.
      Some police officers did not like the policy, but were told that City Hall demanded that they "remove" homeless people from these high traffic areas, according to one of the plaintiffs.
      The City said in its memo to police announcing this policy that it was an attempt to deliver the "less fortunate" to needed services. This despite the fact that the van was "delivering" homeless people to services at 4:30 p.m. when very few homeless services are open.
      A deposition of former Third District Commander Martin Flask was recently completed. The ACLU is planning to subpoena Cleveland Mayor Michael White. The ACLU is asking for a jury trial, and will seek damages for the four named plaintiffs as well as a commitment from the city that dumping will never be policy again in Cleveland.

Copyright is held by the NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Do Your Share to Help the Homeless

By Penny Caudle

If there is a homeless person on the street you are walking on what do you do? If you are walking past a homeless person and they drop a bag that they are having trouble picking up, what do you? If you said you would cross the street or walk away from the homeless person, just because they are homeless, you are so wrong.

I believe what we need to do is help them. We think we do, but the truth is that we just make it worse. If you keep telling a person that they are stupid after so long they start to believe it. We have downed on these people for so long they have no faith in themselves. If you have no faith then you will not be able to get anything done. We start doing that by believing in them. So the first thing we do is help them to get their faith back, help them to believe again. Of course that will not get them a better life right away, but it will get them started.

A lot of the people that are homeless have problems with drinking or drugs. Then they need a little more help. What I am saying is that they need a doctor to help them. I think the government should give some money to have these people sent to a place to help them. I am not talking like a jail, but a hospital.

Most of the people on the streets have had some kind of luck that put them there. They could have lost a job or had a job that would not pay the money they needed for the bills. These people need schooling or job training.

There are people that have had a bad childhood and need help with dealing with that. They would need a special doctor. And maybe classes that will help them deal with their pain, their thoughts, and feelings.

The main thing that we need to do is have faith. We all need to do our share to help these people . All they need is a little faith in themselves, and people that will be there for them. They need a friendly place to turn, just like the rest of us.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19

Cleveland's New Year's Resolution Priorities

Transcribed by Staci Santa
Interviews conducted by Max Johnson


The Homeless Grapevine surveyed homeless and low-income individuals in the meal sites on both sides of the river. Question #1 was what do you think should be the first priority for the City of Cleveland in 1997 or if you were Mayor what would you do first in 1997 to improve the city. Question #2 was what is your own personal New Year's resolution.
Melvin Bryant: 1. Adequate jobs/housing for the homeless instead of preaching about it. 2. to get my own house & employment in my appropriate field.
Svetta: 1. Do good work, bring a team back here, look at social illnesses esp. homelessness, use abandoned buildings as orphanages for homeless. 2. to get closer to my spirituality
Bob: 1. Stop letting Jacobs & Gund get all the dollars; fund low-income housing instead. implement low-income housing units. 2. to make $5 million.
Anonymous: 1. Women's situation of homelessness should be monitored by the city; more women's shelters. 2. Get a job & get a place.
X Man: 1. Lobby in Washington for more tax dollars for homeless & social services like education, health & welfare. 2. to try to be better than last year.
Billy Jean: 1. Open boarded up houses for the homeless. 2. Get my kids back.
Jay Y: 1. Have shelters open on Sundays and during the weekdays. 2. Do whatever I can to get me right & to help others
Mr. X: 1. Better leadership. 2. To do better than I did last year.
Anonymous #2: 1. To clear up housing issues; make room for more families.
John: 1. More programs for the homeless; have more places open on the weekends 2. To try to get out of here (the meal sites? or homelessness?).
Calvin Harris: 1. Affordable housing, jobs, and shelter. 2. To get mayor & big wheels together to talk about homeless issues. There should be one day that homeless issues are discussed with everyone concerned.
Wilby: 1. Permanent housing. 2. Find me a permanent job
Tony Walker: 1. Develop experience to share brotherly love. 2. Be more dedicated to Jesus Christ; make myself a more positive person.
Jack: 1. Money. They should decide what they're going to do with it for the homeless; need money for a drop-in center or training center. 2. Better myself with the grace of God; fight for the people
Big Bad Bob: 1. Get the homeless out of the cold. 2. To get the guys around here to help themselves.
Anonymous #3: 1. Homeless system should be better; there should be more affordable housing. 2. To get better for me.
Tim Allen: 1. Straighten out the school systems. 2. Try to help everyone that needs the help.
Zane Dunaway: 1. More shelter for homeless women & children. 2. Stay away from drugs & make sure I search for work; stay off the streets.
Laurie Bauer: 1. More women's shelters. good paying jobs w/ welfare reform coming. 2. I don't have one.
Julian Patten: 1. Supply us w/ all these vacant buildings; homeless have skills to repair the buildings. 2. No answer

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published January – February 1997 Issue 19