Lutheran Metro Ministry officially took over fiscal control of the men’s shelter at 2100 Lakeside on January 1, 2005. The staff of LMM met with the existing staff of the shelter to welcome them into their organization, and held a community meeting at the end of December to make their partners aware of the services that they want to continue. The meeting right before Christmas was intended to inform everyone that they want to continue to partner with agencies throughout the community and expand those partnerships.
The shelter is looking at beefing up the staff and figuring out a way to provide food to the 550 people who utilize the shelter every night. LMM officials attended a meeting of all the East Side groups providing services to homeless people, and seem genuinely interested in becoming a leader in solving the problem of the growing numbers. We shall see, and maybe they should think about changing the name from the address to something that inspires hope.
East Side Catholic changes
In previous issues of the Grapevine, there was mention of the sad state of the family shelters in Cuyahoga County. East Side Catholic officials must have read that issue, because they have seen many staff depart including the director. Michelle Keys, who did a great deal of work assisting homeless families to vote in the 2004 fall election, is the new acting director. There were reports from residents of the shelter that there was an unhappy split between the director and the Board of Trustees, but Grapevine staff will continue to live with the delusion that it had to do with the article in Grapevine #66. It is hoped that they become more engaged in the struggle to reduce the number of families entering shelters in Cleveland.
Making Connections Introduced
The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless was awarded a state grant to support eight AmeriCorps National Service members to work with homeless people in Cleveland. These eight members will work on housing, Voice mail, Grapevine, Disaster planning, and most of all constructing a volunteer program to attract more volunteers to the struggle. Those working under the auspices of AmeriCorps perform one year of service to the United States in exchange for an educational award and a small stipend. It is often viewed as the domestic Peace Corps, and is marketed to young people to join before they begin their career.
The AmeriCorps members are working on Martin Luther King activities (see poetry in this issue.). They have huge goals to house over 100 people, expand the Grapevine and the Voice Mail program, and put in place an orientation program for volunteers. Readers will continue to hear about the Making Connections program and will probably see the fruits of these eight member’s work.
Emerald Commons Announced
The Housing First initiative celebrated the funding of its first supportive housing building for 52 individuals on the near West Side of Cleveland. The Mayor of Cleveland and one of the local County Commissioners attended the event to celebrate the funding and groundbreaking of the building. Councilman Matthew Zone was instrumental in supporting this project. Housing First organizers look to expand this effort in Cleveland with up to 900 additional units to be developed. This is an awesome undertaking considering the first two projects took over $6 million to create Emerald Commons and another renovated project on Superior Ave. These two projects will only produce approximately 90 units.
Copyright NEOCH, Homeless Grapevine Issue #68 Cleveland Ohio February 2005. All Rights Reserved.