Profile of Dave Westcott

Age:        72

Home:        Wescott is a current resident of Cleveland's West Side. However, he was born in Selma Alabama and previously lived in Wisconsin & St. Louis.

        There are many people who find comfort in helping others, and others dedicate their life to seeing a better future for poor people. Dave Westcott retired from the publishing business and began working on social justice issues in Cleveland. He has volunteered with the Universal Healthcare Network, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Jobs with Justice and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. Dave has also volunteered with the Lutheran Campus Ministry, Brookside emergency food center, the Homeless Grapevine, and has assisted with the fight against the death penalty in Ohio.

He has a great concern for the poor in the United States, and volunteers to strengthen organizations that are working to improve the lives of those who live below the poverty level in Cleveland. He chooses to assist organizations that are working on social justice issues from universal health care to a living wage as well as civil rights for poor people. Some days he may be filing papers or sending out mailings or making telephone calls, but all to assist local organizations that are working on solutions to poverty.

Dave learned about NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine through his involvement in West Side Ecumenical Ministry. "After retiring I began to look for places I could volunteer that would provide some justice for those people with out it or who are denied their rights. NEOCH is one of those places," Dave said.

When asked why he finds time to assist all of these groups, Dave said, "I like advocacy, assuring people get basic rights that many of us take for granted."

One of his more memorable experiences in working with the Grapevine. Dave remembered a homeless person came in one day and needed to sign the new Grapevine contract. He didn't understand some of the rules or why they were enacted. He seemed a bit paranoid. "I realized the simple logic that we take for granted and that so many people on the streets have trouble with. I was very impressed with how NEOCH took the time and patience to explain and re-explain the contract to him. I would have gotten very frustrated."

Dave enjoys seeing things change and happen simply because someone stood up for what was right and realizing that places like the Coalition for the Homeless are willing to stand up beside those with no voice to get equal treatment under the law and in society in general.

Westcott lamented that there is even a need for organizations like the Homeless Grapevine and the Coalition for the Homeless. "That I have to come to a place like NEOCH to see this kind of effort. I am sad that this effort is not being taken on within our churches and community groups more," Dave said.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Issue 32 February 1999