Homeless No longer a High Priority

 Commentary from the NEOCH Board

     The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless opposes the proposed changes at the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, which would reduce the priority for homeless people to get into public housing.  CMHA recently proposed the idea of changing the local performances so that the homelessness was not the highest priority.  This is a story that the Grapevine will follow on the next issue.

             In the past, an applicant was given an additional 95 points if they were homeless, thus placing the person or family at the top standard so that the top priority will be the “under housed,” with the second highest priority being homeless families who have gone through treatment.  This means that the largest homeless population, single men, will lose the last place that they could turn for housing.  The long wait for housing for single men will increase, and the county will be asked to finance the huge costs associated with a growing homeless population.

             The thrust nationally with Public Housing Authorities is to market to the working poor.  This will bring in more revenue, and will hopefully bring the PHA’s budget closer to balance.  The problem is that there is no other entity marketing to low-income individuals.  Angelo Anderson, Project coordinator at NEOCH asked, “Who is going to provide housing for single men ?”  It is admirable to diversify the CMHA population, and try to get the tenants to pay more of the rent, but where, for example, will single men with disability live?  What is the purpose of having a Public Housing Authority if their top priority is not attempting to house the most difficult populations?

             Unless a suitable alternative is found to provide long term housing for single men then NEOCH will oppose the changes in the preferences.

 Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine October1997-Nov. 1997 Issue 23