STRAIGHT FROM THE STREETS

Ted Jackson turned up for an interview and some assistance in late May. Jackson said that he was minding his own business living rough under the railroad tracks in the St. Clair/Superior neighborhood. A Good Samaritan showed up and built a house for him out of wood purchased from a local hardware store. Columnist Denise Dufala of the Cleveland Plain Dealer got word of the work of this volunteer and published a story about him on a Sunday in March. The next morning, Jackson went to do his laundry and when he returned his “house” and all of his stuff was gone. Another temporary housed individual who was a neighbor to Jackson said that the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Cleveland police had picked up Jackson’s house.

He had his identification, some cash, clothing and flashlights taken. Jackson wanted to know what kind of person would throw away someone’s house. Officials from ODOT never returned repeated calls for comment. Jackson is looking for legal representation. The Grapevine will feature an interview with Ted Jackson in July.

The PASS program received its full $1.5 million in funding (Grapevine #34). Ron Reinhart, Director of the Salvation Army PASS program said, “I think we are obviously grateful to all those who helped us get the funding. I think the biggest issue and the biggest victory is that HUD will give technical assistance to others in similar situations in the future. This should prevent future injustices.”

It took another meeting with Congressman Kucinich to complete the process. In early May, Kucinich summoned representatives of the PASS program, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and officials from HUD. HUD sent four attorneys to the meeting. They asked one question which one member of the NEOCH delegation said, “seems like it could have easily been answered over the telephone.” The HUD officials said that everything seemed to be in order and that there did not seem to be anything else that might hold up the application.

On May 14, HUD announced that the PASS program would be funded under the 1998 grant funding. The ongoing story of Chief and Tyrone (Grapevine #34). Tyrone Jordan stayed a couple of nights in the shelter but after an illness did not return to his shanty. Chris “Chief” Herman, after moving his place around a couple of times, was arrested for trespassing and spent a couple of nights in jail. His stuff was cleared away from the Cedar Avenue site.

 He has since moved over to the Hough area and has teamed up with the President of the Homeless (Grapevine #32) to build what they are calling “Camelot” under one of the bridges.The Grapevine vending licensing issue is finally moving through City Council. Out of the blue, the White administration sent the legislation to City Council exempting the Grapevine vendors from the fee associated with a City permit and license to sell items on the street. In hearings before City Council, White spokesperson, Henry Guzman referred to newspaper sellers as “Free Speech Vendors.” He said that they were trying to correct current law that would force vendors to get a license, but would not be burdened by the hardship of a substantial fee associated with that license.

 

Councilman Joe Jones of Ward 1 expressed concern over a proliferation of newspaper vendors in his ward if this legislation passes. He cited problems that he has now with the Nation of Islam vendors in his ward. He wanted to know if he would see a dramatic increase if there were no fees associated with the license. Guzman assured the Council members that they would still have the right to approve all street licenses outside the downtown area.

 Officials from the Grapevine had many questions regarding the legislation and hope to have the opportunity to get some of those questions answered before the full City Council approves the legislation. The Grapevine will feature a more comprehensive story in July.

 In a recent tour of the overflow shelters known as Project Heat by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Director Brian Davis, Charlene, a supervisor for the site at the Welfare building said that 80% of the population had been in the shelter for the entire 9 years that she had worked at HEAT.

 This shelter is for “fragile” populations: those with a mental illness, the elderly and those with AIDS. This means that 45 men are using this place with a mat on the floor as their home for 9 years. These men have been forgotten by the world. They are existing but leave no footprints.

NEOCH has been doing advocacy to get this system cleaned up. The Coalition is trying to get the city and county to improve the overflow shelters so that they are not dumping grounds for people forgotten by the community.

Copyright for the Homeless Grapevine Issue 35, June 1999, Cleveland, Ohio