Editorial: Women's Shelter's Need Reform

       Shelters are places to heal. They can be places to solve problems. Shelters are a safe haven from the world, and they are supposed to protect people from abusers. The staff who work at shelters are among the best people our society has to offer. But shelter staff are underpaid, overworked, and are largely good people put in a very difficult position. With that said, many women are terrified of what is going on within the shelters where they live. There is an unspoken fear by those who stay at the shelter. Women, especially women with families, are terrified to speak up about problems within the shelter system. Those who fund the shelters need to start enforcing rigorous protections for women, which are already on the books, but are largely ignored.

       The problem has grown worse since Mental Health Services took over the Community Women’s Shelter. NEOCH has had a number of meetings with women at the Bishop Cosgrove Center who are extremely upset over their treatment. They are willing to speak about these problems only in a whisper. The shelter has kicked out many of the women who complain when they return to the shelter. Spending a night on the street is not an option for most women. Men who become homeless have a better chance of surviving if they are kicked out of shelter. Women cannot as “easily” sleep outside or in abandoned buildings because there is a high probability of exploitation, violence, or becoming a victim of a sexual predator.

        Mothers especially have a concern that a report will be filed with 696-KIDS (Cuyahoga Children and Family Services) if they complain. They are afraid their kids will be taken into custody as retribution for their complaints. Families who fall on hard times have a great amount of anxiety about even asking for help, and when they get to the shelter they find the conditions almost intolerable. If the mother complains will the staff person call 696-KIDS in retaliation? Can the moms in the shelters trust other women or will one of them rat on them in order to receive better treatment from the staff? The fear of being kicked out taints everything that goes on within the family shelters.

        The County already has a decent policy that is not being enforced. The Grapevine is calling for stronger enforcement of the County Discharge plan and an amnesty on women forced out of any emergency shelter in Cleveland. The Grapevine is asking that women be allowed to access the shelter’s grievance procedure before being kicked out onto the streets.

       The current County Discharge policy was passed in 2003 by the Office of Homeless Services Advisory Board, but is now largely ignored by County staff and most of the shelters. After much debate and input from social service providers, the County passed the following policy: “No clients should be discharged involuntarily unless criminal activity is taking place which includes physical harm or threat of harm to staff or other residents, illegal drug use on the premises, or carrying a concealed weapon. In any of these cases, the appropriate law enforcement agency should be called.”

      The policy is very explicit on discharges for reasons other than criminal activity: “If there are other circumstances, short of criminal activity, when staff recommend client discharge the following protocols should be followed: Written notification of reason be given to client and placed in client file. Clients [must be] given a copy of Grievance Procedure. Grievance Procedure should include a process for a hearing within 24 hours. If the discharge includes a ban, the length of the ban, telephone number of an advocate, process to relocate clients to another shelter.” Finally, the policy states “staff should be trained on the protocols, as well as trained in conflict de-escalation/resolution and alternative behavior interventions.”

     From what we have seen at the Grapevine, these policies are not enforced at all. We have rarely seen any such training offered. In a time of budget constraints, training is one of the first budget line items lost. The major flaw of this policy is that it does not address who will pay for the training. However, the policy is otherwise relatively sound and should be more vigorously enforced. Based on the complaints and we hear from women at the shelters weekly, it seems that only the men’s shelters are following these rules. It causes some hardship, but certainly provides some degree of balance for this inherently unfair relationship between homeless people and their “landlords.”

    Taxpayers of Cuyahoga County should demand the staff start enforcing its actual, stated policies and take the fear out of the shelters. Call Ruth Gillett at the Office of Homeless Services and demand the family shelters stop kicking women, and women with children out onto the streets. Gillett should loudly and publicly call the family shelters together to demand an amnesty for women. Call Ruth Gillett at 216/420-6762 and tell her, “Take the fear out of the family shelters.”

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Self-Employment Beats Relying on a Government Check for Rent

Commentary by Delores Manley

     I have a job. I am a self-employed vendor of The Homeless Grapevine. I, like many people who sell products, have a vendor’s license to sell the paper. I have to abide by the rules of the paper to keep my license, and we go through training before we get it. A person with little to no income can make a decent living or better by selling this paper.

      I work during the winter months just at the West Side Market so I can make enough to rent a room, buy some groceries, and put a little in the bank. But, in the summer, when I can, I will go to other locations to make more money. I once knew a vendor who was so ambitious he made $1,500 a week selling the Grapevine. That’s $6,000 a month, or about $78,000 a year, and that was almost ten years ago. So don’t tell us to get a job because we’re doing very well being self-employed.

    The Homeless Grapevine isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme like some other businesses where you have to put money down to start. After someone is trained, they receive a temporary vending license, and they are given 10 free papers to start. That means someone can put $5 in their pocket almost right away, and buy another 20 papers with the other $5 they make. That 20 papers brings the vendor another $20, and then they can turn around and get 40 papers by putting down another $10, which means they can then make $40 and so on.

      We are not panhandling - we’re selling a real product. If we panhandled, we could lose our licenses. I have seen people give money to horn players and violin players on the streets. No one calls them bums and tells them to “get a job,” so why do people have to put us down? We are human beings too.

     Sometimes our vendors are nice and even give away copies of the paper instead of charging a dollar. Don’t criticize our paper if you don’t read it. Also, I have seen people wearing sports shirts that cost $35-$45, or even more. People don’t mind paying that much for a shirt that should probably cost $15 or less so don’t knock our business; we’re not ripping people off.

    This paper keeps me from going on welfare and from living off of your taxes. You have a choice, we don’t pressure you into buying the paper. Some people’s kids insist on making their parents buy them those $75 player’s shirts so they can be part of the “in-crowd,” though the shirts shouldn’t cost anywhere near that much. The player wouldn’t even acknowledge someone wearing their shirt unless that person was dying or on-camera.

    Meanwhile, our paper is only a dollar, and you get lots of stories about homeless people and articles written by homeless people. Even you can write an article if you want, and you would be compensated with 60 free papers for that. Just think - you can show your friends that you wrote an article, and you can speak your mind.

   Lots of people subscribe to and read the Grapevine. Reporters at channels 3, 5, and 8 read the Grapevine. Something about our paper must interest them if they’re reading it. Also, our paper has valuable information for people living on the streets, like where to find help with food, shelter, abuse, alcoholism, etc.

    This paper can do a lot for just one buck. I know sometimes panhandlers try to sell our paper, if they find one that a customer has thrown out, but all you have to do is ask to see a badge. A real Grapevine vendor will be happy to show you a badge. A panhandler will just shake his cup at you. I used to use a can to keep my money, but I was told to be professional with the paper, so now I act like a business person when I get a buck or two.

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Aggressive Panhandling: Ordinance No. 695-05

An Emergency Ordinance

To supplement the Codified Ordinance of

Cleveland, Ohio, 1976, by enacting new Section

605.031 relating to aggressive solicitation.


Mayor Campbell

      WHEREAS, this Council believes that persons should be able to move freely upon the streets and sidewalks of the City without undue interference or exposure to intimidation or harassment; and

      WHEREAS, this Council finds and determines that the free flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic is of vital importance to the economic vitality of business and the City as a whole; and

      WHEREAS, this Council believes in free access and enjoyment of public places; and

      WHEREAS, this Council believes that the prohibitions contained in this ordinance are necessary to ensure protection of pedestrian and vehicular traffic and free access and enjoyment of public places; and

      WHEREAS, this Council finds and determines that forcing oneself upon the company of another as proscribed in this ordinance is conduct that would intimidate a reasonable person; and

      WHEREAS, this ordinance constitutes an emergency measure providing for the usual daily operation of a municipal department, now therefore,

Be It Ordained By The Council Of The City Cleveland:

Section 1. That the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976 are supplemented by enacting new Section 605.031 to read as follows:

Section 605.031 Aggressive Solicitation

(a) For purpose of this section:

(1) “Aggressive manner” means as follows:

A. Approaching, seeking or following a person before, during, or after solicitation if that conduct is intended, or likely to cause, a reasonable person to (i) fear bodily harm to oneself or another, (ii) fear damage to or loss of property, or (iii) be intimidated;

B. Intentionally or recklessly touching or causing physical contact with another person without that person’s consent in the course of soliciting if the touching or physical contact is likely to cause a reasonable person to feel restrained or intimidated;

C. Continuing to solicit from a person after the person has given a negative response;

D. Intentionally or recklessly blocking the safe or free passage of a person or vehicle by any means, including unreasonably causing a pedestrian or vehicle operator to take evasive action to avoid physical contact. Acts authorized by a lawfully issued permit shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian traffic for purposes of this section; or

E. Intentionally or recklessly using obscene, abusive, or threatening language, or gestures, toward a person being solicited.

(2) “Automated-teller machine” means a device, linked to a financial institution’s account records, that is able to carry out transactions, including, but not limited to account transfers, deposits, cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, and mortgage and loan payments.

(3) “Automated-teller machine facility” means the area comprised of one or more automated-teller machines, and any adjacent space that is made available to banking customers.

(4) “Public property” means all property owned, operated or controlled by any governmental agency, including but not limited to streets, public sidewalks, tree lawns, parks, playgrounds, publicly-owned parking lots, schools, libraries, post offices, municipal transit facilities and other public lands and buildings.

(5) “Solicit” or “soliciting” means to request an immediate donation of money or other thing of value from another person, regardless of the solicitor’s purpose or intended use of the money or other thing of value. The solicitation may be, without limitation, by the spoken, written, or printed word, by gesture or by other means of communication.

(b) No personal shall solicit:

(1) In an aggressive manner;

(2) Within twenty feet of any automated-teller machine without the consent of the owner or other person legally in possession of the machine, provided, however, that when an automated-teller machine is located within an automated-teller machine facility, the distance shall be measured from the entrance or exit of the automated-teller machine facility;

(3) Within twenty feet of a bus stop, rapid-transit shelter, or bus shelter;

(4) Within twenty feet of a line of pedestrians waiting to obtain access to a building or event;

(5) Within twenty feet of the area of the sidewalk used by an outdoor restaurant under a temporary public-right-of-way occupancy permit issued under Chapter 513 of the Codified Ordinances or by a vendor under a permit issued under Chapter 508, Section 675.06, or Section 675.07 of the Codified Ordinances;

(6) Within twenty feet of a valet zone established under Section 451.33 of the Codified Ordinances;

(7) Within fifteen feet of any pay telephone, provided, however, that when a pay telephone is located within a telephone booth or other facility, the distance shall be measured from the entrance or exit of the telephone booth or facility;

(8) Within fifteen feet of the entrance or exit of any public toilet facility;

(9) On public property within ten feet of an entrance to a building; or

(10) On public property within ten feet of an entrance to a parking lot.

(c) Whoever violates division (b)(1) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree for a first time offense, a misdemeanor of the third degree for a second offense, and misdemeanor of the first degree for a third and subsequent offense. Whoever violates any provision in division (b)(2) through (b)(10) of this section shall be guilty of a minor misdemeanor for a first offense, and a misdemeanor of the fourth degree for a second and subsequent offense. A separate offense shall be deemed committed each day during or on which an offense occurs or continues.

Section 2. That this ordinance is declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its passage and approval by the Mayor; otherwise it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.

Directors of Public Safety, Law;

Committees on Public Safety, Legislation, Finance.


FOR: Mayor Campbell

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights

New York Program a Model for Women in Need

by Kali Dye and David Graham

    A 2004 study conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that families with children account for 40% of homeless people in America. Shelters are commonly filled to capacity making it difficult to accommodate the families’ needs. Today, many cities are finding creative ways to combat this trend. In New York City, for instance, Women In Need (WIN) was established as an innovative answer to this growing epidemic.

    WIN is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1983 and serves about 7,500 women and children each year. There are seven WIN shelters that are located throughout Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan. Although each shelter is different, they all have the same general purpose: to restore dignity, promote independence, and provide stable housing for families. The typical length of time that a family will spend in a shelter is approximately six to nine months.

    Bonnie Bean, an Akron native, is the Program Director at the Alexander Abraham Shelter in Manhattan. According to Bean, the facility provides “food and shelter for the homeless families, substance abuse treatment, employment opportunities, as well as workshops in such things as money management, healthy relationships, resume writing, and interviewing skills.”

    Each client resides in the shelter until they graduate from the program, which includes various different educational classes and workshops to teach women how to live on their own and support a family.

    For various reasons, WIN has had an outstanding success rate to this point. WIN’s dedication to providing all the necessities for mothers to get back on their feet is a crucial part of its success. Other than the workshops that WIN provides, it also helps to reintroduce women to an independent lifestyle. WIN provides several services to its clients, including a fulltime childcare program that can be utilized for up to eighteen months after the women have left the shelter.

   Another service they provide is a partnership with a network of realtors who help find the families low cost housing so that they can live on their own. A third service that helps foster more independence for women is a course in job-seeking that includes learning how to successfully write resumes and to be more confident and prepared for interviews. After they have gone through these courses, WIN sets them up with employers who are looking for entry-level workers with an emphasis on growth and development. This commitment to go above and beyond the standard support offered by shelters has led to an impressive success rate. Of the women who find permanent housing through this program, 95% are able to maintain their status after two years.

 [Editor’s Note: Cleveland’s Best Shelters average a 50% success rate.]

   New York City’s unique women’s shelter system has been a success, and because of that many other cities are considering similar ventures. Bean believes strongly that Women In Need is a program that greatly contributes to the success of women who would otherwise have nowhere to turn.

    “I certainly recommend the type of program that WIN runs for homeless families because I think we prepare clients for what to expect when they are independent,” Bean said.

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

New Bankruptcy Law May Wreak Havoc on Courts

Commentary by Kevin E. Cleary

     The founders of the United States enshrined in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution Congress’s authority to establish uniform bankruptcy laws. Perhaps ironically, that same provision enables Congress to borrow on the credit of the United States. Granted, one of the reasons U.S. currency is a cornerstone of the world market is that our government has never defaulted, but Congress has since used that borrowing power to the effect of incurring trillions of dollars of debt for years on end.

     Individual taxpayers who are not endowed with Congress’s seemingly bottomless pockets often file bankruptcy in order to be protected from debts incurred by borrowing on credit, or from burdensome medical expenses. According to Steve Bucci of Bankrate.com, personal bankruptcies have increased from 280,000 in 1984 to 1.5 million in 2004. For those who had hoped to use bankruptcy as a means to avoid debt repayment, they may now find it much harder to do so.

     On April 20, 2005, President Bush signed a new law, entitled the “Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.” Most of the new law’s provisions will not take effect until October 17, 2005, but it is expected to dramatically change the way most Americans enter federal bankruptcy.

    There is a perception among opponents that this new law is a gift to insurance and credit card companies. According to attorney Joan Burda, Director of the Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program, “The law is pro-creditor, anti-debtor. The idea of a fresh start, which was the cornerstone of bankruptcy law, is gone. This law is nothing more than a reward for creditors who support Republicans.”

    Senator George Voinovich (R-OH), who voted for the bill, did not respond. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH), who also voted for the bill, spoke more highly of the new legislation via email: “The bill is a compromise, so it is clearly not perfect, but it does have numerous protections for those who might be adversely affected by the legislation, and on balance it is a step in the right direction.”

    Most of those protections are disclosure requirements for creditors, so as to better inform debtors of their rights; especially for reaffirmation agreements, by which debtors agree to repay otherwise dischargeable debts. According to the Congressional website, “The bill penalizes a creditor who unreasonably refuses to negotiate a pre-bankruptcy debt repayment plan with a debtor. . . It also prohibits a creditor from terminating an open end consumer credit plan simply because the consumer has not incurred finance charges on the account.”

    Debtors will also be able to shelter some of their assets in certain education IRAs and retirement plans. But all potential filers for bankruptcy will be required to take credit and financial management counseling at their own expense prior to filing for bankruptcy. That provision took effect immediately upon the bill’s signing.

     However, a number of local attorneys expressed unease about some of the law’s other provisions, especially one that will hold debtors’ lawyers personally liable for verifying the value of a debtor’s assets when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

     “The way the new law is written people are going to find it harder to find a lawyer to represent them in filing bankruptcy. That’s because of the provision that will hold debtors’ lawyers personally liable if the debtor does not tell the truth about the value of her assets. This only applies to debtor attorneys, not creditors’ attorneys,” said Burda.

      “It is going to have a chilling effect on lawyers doing pro-bono bankruptcies where there may be personal liability for the attorney,” said bankruptcy attorney Ralph Skonce.

      Another major change included in the new law is the provision that will mandate means testing to determine whether or not someone is eligible to have their debts totally discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Rigorous paperwork requirements, such as three years of pay stubs and tax returns, are required to be included along with the filing. The added paperwork will add to a debtor’s expense and confusion, especially since many will be filing without representation. The means testing is not expected to actually prevent most from filing Chapter 7, since most individuals who file Chapter 7 already earn below their state’s median income level, according to moneylawyer.com.

      However, misstatements and paperwork errors will result in a debtor’s attorney(if the debtor can afford an attorney)being held liable for the cost of the proceedings, as well as a possibly civil penalty fine. Many legal expert agree that the main objective of the new law is to force most debtors into filing Chapter 13 bankruptcies, which force a debtor to repay at least a portion of his or her debts, as well as to make it harder to discharge medical or credit debt. Such paperwork errors will also result in the “presumption of abuse” by the courts.

     This means testing is expected to be one of the more confusing elements of the new law. According to The American Bankruptcy Institute, the means test has three main elements: “(a) a definition of current monthly income,” measuring the total income a debtor is presumed to have available; (b) a list of allowed deductions from current monthly income, for purposes of support and repayment of higher priority debt [such as child support]; and (c) defined “trigger points,” at which the income remaining after the allowed deductions would result in the presumption of abuse.”

      “Current monthly income” is defined as a monthly average of all income received by the debtor (excluding Social Security benefits and certain victim payments, like being the victim of domestic terrorism) over a six-month period. The debtor is allowed certain deductions, up to limits established by the Internal Revenue Service’s living expense standards, as well as a few “Other Necessary Expenses.”

      Other deductions include expenses for protection from family violence, continued costs associated with care of a nondependent family member, the actual expenses of administering a Chapter 13 plan, a $1,500 annual deduction (per minor child) for grade or high school expenses (this allowance requires special documentation), additional home energy costs, continued contributions to tax-exempt charities (up to 15% of gross income), etc.

     Of main concern to most debtors, however, are the trigger points within the means testing. After calculating a debtor’s “current monthly income,” the trigger points are as follows: if a debtor has less than $100 in the calculation, they will be allowed to file Chapter 7. If the debtor has $100, the presumption of abuse (and subsequent dismissal of the Chapter 7 filing) will arise, unless the person’s debt exceeds $24,000. If a debtor has $166.66, the presumption will arise unless the debt exceeds $39,998.40. If the debtor has a “current monthly income” greater than $166.66 after the allowances, the presumption of abuse will always arise, according the American Bankruptcy Institute.

     Even with the mandatory credit counseling, filers may be confused by the paperwork and filing requirements contained in the new law. This is especially disconcerting to attorneys as some feel the liabilities for debtor’s attorneys will hurt both attorneys and debtors.

    “We don’t know how it’s going to affect the pro-bono bankruptcy program in Cuyahoga County. But, I suspect attorneys will be reluctant to participate because of potential liability. I think more people will file bankruptcy without a lawyer and that will wreak chaos in the court,” said Burda.

     Burda also feels that this law will have a negative effect on people filing bankruptcy because of burdensome medical debts: “The Bush Administration [has also] proposed a budget that cuts back on Medicaid payments to the states. That will result in more people incurring medical expenses that they cannot pay. It seems that medical bills comprise a high percentage of debts in bankruptcy cases. Without any safety net the situation will get worse. However, the creditors are protected because of the new bankruptcy bill. . . They’re gonna get screwed. That’s the short answer.”

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

NEOCH Teach In Broadens Perspectives

Commentary by Courtney Smith and Alea Danzy

     Homelessness is a social problem that affects everyone. Approximately 26,000 homeless people live in Cleveland. In addition, 3,800 people become homeless each night. Many people who have never been homeless think homeless people are dirty, uneducated, lazy and on drugs.

     “No one says [I want to be homeless,]” according to Michelle Wilkerson-Guerry, a formerly homeless individual.

      Oftentimes, outsiders believe homeless people have no goals in life. Wilkerson-Guerry has two degrees, speaks four languages and had a good job, but ended up becoming homeless as a result of her company moving away. The truth is homeless people have experienced life-changing circumstances and misfortune that can occur in anyone’s life. “You are a paycheck away,” said Wilkerson-Guerry.

      Even some healthcare professionals do not know how to react to homeless people when administering care. Subsequently, homeless people suffer from being given the wrong prescriptions. They are sometimes treated poorly and do not want to come back. In addition, medical costs are frequently unaffordable for them.

    “Basically, the homeless in Cleveland are a diverse group representing every problem that exists in society,” explained Brian Davis, the Executive Director of NEOCH.

      According to Davis, those under the age of 17 make up the fastest growing group of homeless people in Cleveland and various towns. 41% of homeless people are single men, 14% are single women, 40% are families with children and unaccompanied youth comprise 5%. Whites represent 41% of the racial composition of homeless people, African- Americans 40%, Hispanics comprise 11%, and Native Americans represent 8%. Many are mentally ill, substance abusers, or veterans, but by no means are the causes of homelessness limited to these. A large percentage of homeless people have also been physically or sexually abused, in foster care as children, homeless as children, or incarcerated.

      The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless facilitates a program called a Homeless Teach In. On March 22, the Teach In addressed the issue of healthcare for homeless people. Michelle Wilkerson-Guerry and Thomas Parker, formerly homeless individuals, spoke of their experiences with the healthcare system while being homeless. After hearing their stories, many would agree with Brian Davis’s sentiments:

     “I am in awe of the struggles that many have to overcome, and have the deepest respect for the people that find stability despite the obstacles put in place by shelters, government, and society.”

     Wilkerson-Guerry candidly discussed the problem of unsanitary shelter life. She suggested a possible   underlying rationale for many city officials by stating, “Homelessness is embarrassing.” The problem of homelessness is covered up because America does not want to face the truth. “What affects the homeless will eventually affect the non-homeless,” declared Michelle Wilkerson-Guerry.

     Both Wilkerson-Guerry and Parker referred to the Care Alliance Health Centers who provide homeless people with medical care. Care Alliance Health Centers provide excellent volunteer healthcare for everyone.

     There are several ways to help NEOCH meet its goal of reaching out to homeless people. Volunteer Opportunities include: writing for The Homeless Grapevine, fundraising, helping at special events, updating and distributing the Street Card, coordinating NEOCH homeless forums, organizational leadership, becoming a committee member, public speaking, office work, database entry, assisting in voter registration, Bridging the Gap mentors, volunteering attorneys and law student interns, Direct Service volunteers and more. Contact Brian or Teri at (216) 432-0540 for more information about volunteer opportunities at NEOCH.

     Homelessness may continue to be a problem well into the future. To say that we can eliminate homelessness may be unrealistic, but if our community takes Davis’s advice - “Empower a homeless person with responsibility, trust, and authority and they prosper. Treat them like a child, as often happens in the shelters, and they become dependent and disenfranchised,” the issue of homelessness does not have to be as enormous as it is today.

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

National News

Hawaii Homeless Sweeps Continue

     Homeless advocates in Hawaii will continue to lobby lawmakers this year to find short-term solutions to Hawaii’s homeless problem as increasing numbers of homeless people are ordered to vacate large public parks.

     According to media reports, advocates have called for a moratorium on sweeps of homeless people from large public parks. A non-binding resolution in the House asks federal, state and county governments to place a moratorium on homeless sweeps until a program can be implemented by appropriate government agencies to designate areas of large public parks as places where the homeless can stay under supervision.

     The state Department of Land and Natural Resources opposed the measure, saying it had neither the equipment nor the funds to assist with homelessness.

     Supporters of a repeal, including the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, which has challenged the act in federal court, say it is too vague and has resulted in authorities banning some people from public places such as the Hawaii State Library, airports and the University of Hawaii.

     In a recent sweep at Oneula Beach Park, known as Hau Bush, police said residents had complained about assaults and domestic violence that occurred at the park. Other recent sweeps have occurred at Dillingham Airfield in Mokuleia and Wahiawa Bridge.

TB Invades NY Shelter

     A recent outbreak of tuberculosis among homeless people was isolated to one homeless shelter in New York. Public health officials from the Orange County Health Department in Goshen, New York, reported 29 TB cases were identified among residents in one homeless shelter between 2000 and 2003. Three local health jurisdictions had received the initial reports.

     Examination of the genetic sequence of bacilli from 26 of the 29 cases showed that 11 were a strain of TB associated with the homeless shelter.

“Bumfights” Creators Jailed

     Two men on probation for producing videos featuring homeless people brawling and performing dangerous stunts were sentenced to six months in jail for failing to complete community service.

     According to the Associated Press, Ryan McPherson, 21, and Zachary Bubeck, 27, pleaded guilty in 2003 to misdemeanor conspiracy to stage an illegal fight in connection with their video production “Bumfights.” The pair was ordered to serve 280 hours of community service at a homeless shelter.

     The two men recently requested their probation be terminated, however, officials at the shelter said they have no record showing the two men had finished the required service

     Superior Court Judge Charles Ervin denied the men’s request and put them on probation for an additional 2 1/2 years in addition to jail time.

     Authorities reported more than 300,000 copies of the videos had been sold over the Internet. They depict homeless men and women engaged in humiliating, self-destructive acts, including ripping out teeth and ramming themselves into doors.

     Two other “Bumfights” producers, Michael Slyman and Daniel Tanner, also pled guilty and received community service.

 Homeless Man Gets Shot

     A homeless man is recovering from a gunshot wound after a security guard in Dallas, Texas, accidentally shot him according to media reports.

     Police said the guard saw a driver back into a car at the Taqueria El Paisano near Lombardy and Brockbank in North Dallas. The driver tried to leave the scene, but was confronted by the guard. The driver then, according to investigators, aimed his gun at the guard.

     The security guard fired a shot towards the driver but missed and struck the homeless man in the foot while the driver of the car fled the scene.

Baby Dies at Homeless Shelter

     Philadelphia police are investigating the recent death of a baby girl living in a homeless shelter.

     The child, 16-months-old, was found dead early in the morning at the Saint Barnabas homeless shelter in the 6000 Block of West Girard Avenue in West Philadelphia. The child’s mother was with her at the time of death.

The Philadelphia police Special Victims Unit is investigating whether the child died of natural causes or if foul play was involved.

North Carolina Creates Homeless Database

     Starting next year, information on computers used at shelters, soup kitchens and treatment centers can be shared with nonprofit agencies across North Carolina.

     Supporters say the goal is to improve services, allowing workers to track whether the homeless get continued help. The new system, known as the Carolina Homeless Information Network, is designed to reduce paperwork, coordinate resources and provide an accurate count of the state’s homeless. It is one of a dozen databases under way in different states because of a new federal regulation requiring agencies that serve the homeless to keep more precise numbers.

     Officials with the N.C. Housing Coalition, a nonprofit group that is developing the database with state money, said it would have safeguards to keep data private and restrict access. Although the databases are required by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the department won’t have access to all data.

     The programs use names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and other data to create individual computer files. Each time a homeless person spends a night in a shelter, sees a counselor or gets food at a participating agency, the file is updated.

San Jose Homeless Numbers Rise to surprising levels

     The homeless population of San Jose is now bigger than San Francisco.

     A survey done last December found San Jose had at least 7,100 people living in shelters or on the streets. More than a thousand of them are children. In San Francisco, a January count showed just over 6,200 homeless people.

     The mayor of San Jose recently pledged to build another 6,000 low-income housing units over the next  five years.

Homeless Man Steals Boat

     A 41-year-old homeless man was arrested last month for allegedly stealing a 75-foot fishing boat from Santa Barbara Harbor and abandoning it on the beach at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

     Donald Patrick Kelley also had a jar of Grey Poupon mustard from the boat’s galley in his pocket when he was arrested a quarter-mile from where the boat was left on the rocky beach. The million-dollar boat and several other boats were damaged while the homeless man maneuvered out of the harbor.

     Kelley was booked for investigation of grand theft of an item worth more than 100-thousand dollars—a crime that could lead to four years in prison.

     Police say Kelley apparently acted alone.

     Besides the mustard, Kelley was allegedly found with other items from the boat’s galley, including a bottle of A-1 steak sauce and a box of tea.

Vegas Shelter Cuts Services

      The Las Vegas Rescue Mission is cutting back on kitchen service as of March 2005.

      The facility usually provides counseling, shelter and food to about 150 homeless men, women and children, and feeds another 500 people a day. Officials, however, contend they’re concerned about sanitation and safety in the encampment, and don’t want the county Health Department to have to do a sweep.

Homeless Fill Fargo Shelters

     Fargo, and neighboring Moorhead, Minn. have historically seen a decrease in the number of homeless   people as the temperatures dip until this year.

     The increase in homeless people in shelter may be due to increasing awareness of the homeless health clinic and outreach nursing at local shelters.

      Last year, 1,328 women and children stayed at the YWCA of Cass Clay’s shelter, an increase of 31 percent over the year before. The shelter’s capacity increased by about 30 beds when it moved to its new center last April. The New Life Center, a men’s homeless shelter in Fargo, has seen a 10 percent increase in residents since the holidays.

     The most recent survey of the Fargo-Moorhead homeless population, done in 2003, estimated there are 400 homeless people at any given time, an increase of 25 percent since 2000.

Panel Visits Shelters

     Denver’s Commission to End Homelessness has begun visiting the city’s homeless shelters to solicit comments and opinions on its upcoming 10-year plan.

     The commission’s plan, which it intends to deliver to Mayor John Hickenlooper and the City Council in May, calls for assistance programs and affordable-housing help estimated to cost several million dollars a year in city, state and federal money.

     The plan proposes construction of 2,493 apartments during the next 10 years to help homeless people get off the street. It also proposes expanding shelter hours, adding shelter beds and more funding for eviction assistance and first-time renters, among other things.

Tent City in the News

     Tent City 3, one of the temporary homeless encampments organized and set up by homeless advocacy groups in Seattle, recently enjoyed a month’s tenure on the campus of Seattle University. As reported by Peter Monaghan in the March 11 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education, Tent City 3 came to Seattle’s campus at the invitation of the university, after a group of graduate students suggested it to university president the Reverend Stephen V. Sundborg. President Sundborg hoped the visit of Tent City 3, as part of the campus’s yearlong theme of consumption and poverty, would raise awareness of and involvement in the problem of homelessness in Seattle.

     Certainly Seattle University students became aware and involved. Monaghan reported that some Tent City residents and freshmen in an Introduction to Literature class came together for a discussion of Native Indian writer Sherman Alexie’s stories of homelessness. The homeless men joining the discussion shared their tales of trying to raise money on the streets, which included selling copies of Seattle’s homeless newspaper, Real Change. In addition, many students volunteered to help set up the camp, prepare evening meals, and raise donations of money and goods when Tent City first came to campus at the beginning of February.

     Monaghan’s article emphasized the constructive nature of the association between Tent City and the university. President Sundborg made clear that the homeless persons on the campus would not be used as just an educational opportunity for campus students and faculty: the university also offered Tent City residents the chance to participate in classes and to attend workshops that offered help building money-management and job skills.

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Commentary: Medina County Cares for Poor

Commentary by Tammy Antonille

      Homelessness and poverty do not stop at the borders of Cleveland. The need to provide shelter and food for those in poverty is as real for 30 people as it is for 3000. The bedroom communities, suburbs and rural areas face similar challenges to the large metropolitan areas. The number of people may be smaller but the harsh reality of poverty is just as significant to those who are experiencing it.

        Living in Medina County you feel insulated from the hustle and bustle of the big city. Poverty and homelessness aren’t immediately visible when you drive through the historic downtown of Medina. The gazebo in the center of the square gleams in the sunlight and is the focal point for wedding pictures, family picnics and city events.

      You don’t catch a glimpse of homeless people pushing shopping carts down the street or sitting on the corner asking people for change. On the surface, it is as close to Pleasantville as you can imagine.

      If you don’t take the time to get involved in the community, you could go about your life, without giving a second thought to homelessness or poverty. From my house to the grocery store, I encounter nothing but thriving businesses and new homes being built. But the facts about the county tell a different story.

      The Medina County Metropolitan Housing Authority states that a person earning minimum wage would have to work 112 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment at a fair market value of $752. The housing wage in Ohio is $11.87, while the housing wage in Medina County is $14.46. In 2003, the MCMHA also found there were 31 homeless adults and six children cared for by Operation HOMES. There are 421 people with developmental disabilities on a waiting list for housing or housing services in the county and foreclosures rose from $12 million to over $32 million in 2004.

      Despite the growing, “out of sight out of mind” mentality which is so prevalent in our society, Medina County is a glowing example of how a community can pull together to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. Non-profits, volunteer agencies and service organizations abound, and the citizens respond to the needs of the community with their time and money.

     The Medina County Home is a perfect example. The original County Home was built in 1854 to provide housing for indigent persons who were unable to care for themselves. Situated on approximately 80 acres of scenic, rural property, the Medina County Home is a 60-bed facility that provides primary, custodial, rest-home-type care. When the Home was in financial trouble the citizens of the county voted a levy through to ensure its continuing existence.

      Another organization, the HANDS Foundation, concentrates on the needs of senior citizens. It is estimated that over 11,000 seniors in Medina County are living below the poverty level. The HANDS Foundation has a senior wish list that other charities and non-profits can access to provide financial assistance for everything from new dentures and eyeglasses to plumbing repairs and money to help cover medical costs. It also funds the Farmers Market, a nutritional program that provides vouchers for qualifying seniors to use at farm markets across the county. Since 1998, Cathy’s House, a transitional shelter, has provided a home for 250 recovering alcohol and drug-addicted men. The Battered Women’s Shelter is another example of a need being recognized and a solution put in place. In 2003, the shelter provided 101 people with safe housing. There are a myriad of other organizations that do good and impact poverty issues across the county.

    I am a proud member of the Medina County Community, and I compliment the efforts of the citizens across the county to identify and implement solutions for those who are less fortunate. Every person can make a difference in someone else’s life, by volunteering time, energy, ideas and compassion. Don’t become insulated in your suburb, research the issues, find a cause and make a difference.

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Local News

Housing Cleveland Coming Soon

     First Call for Help/211 and Bridging the Gap were given a grant by Cuyahoga County to produce an extensive affordable housing database for the county. The website is expected to be online by the summer of 2005, and will feature a comprehensive list of all the subsidized housing in Cuyahoga County. This website will help landlords who offer housing to those with lower incomes in the county to list their properties. It would also allow homeless people and those struggling in Cuyahoga County to go to the library and find affordable housing much more easily. The project has finally found the proper funding and has gathered an impressive array of partners to serve as the advisory board. Community Re-Entry, Neighborhood Link, NEOCH, Cleveland Tenants Organization, and Legal Aid are just a few of the programs guiding this project.

 Big Brother Demands Non-Profits Do Homework

     In less than 100 years, the United States has moved from a country with “nothing to fear but fear itself” to fearing everything, including domestic charities. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless receives funds from individuals who have money taken from their paychecks. In 2005, the Coalition, publisher of the Homeless Grapevine, was asked to certify that they did not accept or send money to anyone on either the Federal or State Terrorism Watch List. This monumental task would grind the Coalition or any non-profit organization to halt, because the list is 199 pages in Adobe PDF format with around 50 names and their aliases on each page.

There is no other identifying information but a name of a “suspected” terrorist and their many aliases. How is any agency supposed to comb through the tens of thousands of names to verify that a client who received rental assistance with an Arabic name is not the same as a potential terrorist in Saudi Arabia? How are we supposed to verify that the person sitting in the waiting room asking for help with housing is not a terrorist, especially if he or she has the same name as one of the many American-sounding aliases listed? Along with this overwhelming task of wading through thousands of names, do non-profit organizations that provide life-sustaining services like food, shelter, and clothing have an obligation to participate in the war on terrorism?

 Ohio Bill Would Make ERs “Emergency Only”

     Ohio House Member Louis Blessing has introduced legislation that would allow hospitals to restrict emergency room access to only those who meet the federal definition of an emergency. If the bill passes, a hospital will not be reimbursed for any care given to those who are treated for anything less than “an emergency.” This would allow patients to be turned away or forced to pay for a “non-emergency” procedure up-front. From the notes on the bill, the Representative showed up at the emergency room and apparently had to wait for four hours and became angered that people were clogging up the emergency room for what this elected official characterized as “paper cut, dandruff and non-allergic bee sting.” H.B 152 was introduced in March, but has not had a hearing as of May 2005.

 Three Shelters Given Warning to Improve

     The Cuyahoga County Review and Ranking committee oversees all of the publicly-funded transitional shelters and supportive services and, unlike last year, found three shelters need significant improvement. Last year, on an academic scale every service was rated with an “A” except one that received a “B.” This year half of the services received “A”, but three out of the 31 facilities received “C” in the rankings. Harbor Light—Zelma George Shelter, Hitchcock Center and East Side Catholic Shelter all received low enough scores to worry the review teams. The County will be reviewing the administration, fiscal issues and involvement with clients for each of these programs over the next six months. After six months, if the projects have not made significant progress the County will begin the process of finding another provider.

    This comes after three years of articles and complaints in The Homeless Grapevine about two of the facilities. In 2004, the Grapevine published a long series on the sad state of the family shelters. The Grapevine will publish a more in-depth look at the Continuum of Care in an upcoming issue.

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Commentary: Grassroots Lobbyists Protest Cuts

Commentary by Michael

    On Tuesday, April 12th, more than 4,000 people gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus to protest proposed cuts that would affect school funding, access to treatment, mental health programs, food subsidies, Medicaid, and other social services for many Ohioans. Governor Taft’s proposed two-year budget is projected at $49 billion, including substantial cuts in programs expected to impact low-income residents. The Campaign To Protect Ohio’s Future organized this protest in response to these proposed cuts. They have formed a coalition of 370 organizations that came together to speak out against significant cuts proposed by the Governor, and endorsed by a partisan state legislature.

    Twenty-four buses left the Municipal Parking Lot from Cleveland on this cool, gray morning to voice opposition to the proposed funding reductions. Cleveland City Council President Frank Jackson and Councilperson Pat Britt (Ward 6) rallied the assembled to speak out against the cuts, as well as to lobby for the most vulnerable of Ohio’s residents: the young, elderly, and disabled who were not in attendance.

     The State House of Representatives eventually approved the budget with only minor modifications, on the same day as this large rally. The House budget would restore Medicaid vision care and partial dental care, and some of the Disability Medical Assistance, but only for a period of approximately four months. The DA program is supposed to help low-income residents who are not on Medicaid pay for their prescriptions until they can enroll in Medicaid. The House is still planning big tax cuts for both businesses and citizens.

    Under the House passed budget, eligibility for health assistance would be reduced. Subsidies for child care would be reduced, and assistance to local governments would see dramatic reductions. The budget must still be passed by the Ohio Senate.

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Dayton Panhandlers Suffer Scarlet Letter

by Ivan Sheehan

      For panhandlers in Dayton Ohio, the city is placing “scarlet letters” around their necks. In December 2000, Dayton City Officials passed one of the nation’s strictest panhandling ordinances.

      “We have not seen any benefits of the law,” says Jessica Procaccini, program director at The Other Place, a homeless service provider in Dayton. “But then again, we have not seen any negative effects either.”

      Under Section 137.20 of the ordinance, which outlines registration, “no person shall panhandle without a registration issued by the Chief of Police.” The registration includes the name and photograph of the individual to whom it is being issued, and anyone who has been registered must display the cumbersome 4” by 6” registration card “in plain view on the front of that person at all times while panhandling.” Applicants for the pass are given a 10-day temporary permit while the chief approves the regular registration, which is valid for one year after the date of issuance.

    According to the ordinance, no person shall “panhandle after sunset or before sunrise,” (Section 137.15). For the official sunrise and sunset times, panhandlers should follow the times published by the United States Naval Observatory.

      Section 137.16 designates unacceptable locations for panhandling. Any bus stop, public transportation vehicle or facility, in addition to sports stadiums, halls and theaters operated by a political subdivision, and private property is off-limits. No panhandling is permitted within 20 feet of the entrance or exit of most financial institutions including banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions and automated teller machines during operational hours.

     Panhandlers must abide by Dayton’s prescribed manner of panhandling (Section 137.17). These guidelines include not coming within three feet of a person solicited after that person has indicated that he or she does not wish to make a donation, and avoiding unreasonable noise or offensively coarse utterances, gestures, or displays.

    The ordinance also prohibits panhandling in a group of two or more persons; or engaging in “communication which a reasonable person in the situation of the person solicited would perceive to be a threat.”

        The ordinance also includes provisions for false or misleading solicitation (Section 137.18), which states, “no person shall knowingly make a false or misleading representation in the course of soliciting a donation;” or use “any makeup or device to simulate any deformity; or stating that the solicitor is homeless, when he is not.”

       The “homeless impostor” provision is not completely unfounded according to Procaccini.

     “Most people who are homeless do not actually panhandle,” she says. “Not all panhandlers are homeless and not all homeless panhandle.”

      Penalties for failing to adhere to the ordinance range from fourth-degree misdemeanors for most cases to a minor misdemeanor for certain instances. Any person who is found guilty of ordinance violations is subject to fines, possible jail time and loss of panhandling registration.

     But Procaccini does believe the ordinance has, in some ways, improved the relationship between officers and panhandlers.

    “If anything, I think it has made officers more aware and sensitive to the issue,” she says. “We have not heard of anyone that has been prosecuted to the extent of paying fines.”

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved

Cleveland Gets Aggressive with Panhandlers

Commentary by Henry Douglas

    I think it is an egregious waste of our local government’s time to even consider a law designed to discriminate against people who have low-incomes. I wonder if our esteemed Mayor and the distinguished members of City Council see the irony in outlawing panhandling in Cleveland shortly after it has been declared the poorest city in the country. Yes, there are people who panhandle who are not necessarily homeless, but I sincerely doubt it is anyone’s first pick as a career choice. Unfortunately, it is rapidly becoming one of the few remaining career choices available as jobs in Cleveland continue to disappear on a daily basis.

    The City Council would do better to explore alternatives to panhandling such as The Homeless Grapevine, which empowers individuals to sell a legitimate product while informing the community about issues affecting people who are homeless or have low-incomes. In the long term, the City Council would be wise to do something about our city’s schools, lack of affordable housing, or even address the reality that most people who live in Cleveland proper can’t afford to shop, eat, or be entertained in Cleveland.

    It is a profound waste of time, if nothing else, to draft a law that would effectively obligate the few remaining members of the Cleveland Police (those who haven’t been laid off) to arrest people based on the dubious assertion that panhandlers are the reason rich suburbanites aren’t shopping at the stores in Cleveland which haven’t been deserted yet. It is my sincere hope that our city’s leaders start focusing on Cleveland’s real needs and priorities instead of wasting another second or cent on this discriminatory proposal.

  Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Cleveland Begins Heading Home

by Kimberly Shores

    Cleveland’s low-income residents can hope for a brighter future thanks to the efforts of the city’s top leaders. Mayor Jane Campbell, Cuyahoga County Board of Commissioners President Tim Hagan, and City Council President Frank Jackson amassed at Trinity Cathedral on April 14 to inaugurate Heading Home, the affordable housing and homelessness prevention initiative of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.

    At the kickoff, Mayor Campbell told the room full of enthusiastic program supporters, “We want Cleveland to be a place where people can afford to live.”

    She emphasized the need to work with the community as a whole, engaging a multiplicity of resources, including social service agencies, businesses, and investors, to address the housing needs of poor and homeless people. The mayor also cautioned that funds for resources badly needed in the community are threatened at the federal level.

    Appropriately launched during Fair Housing Month and developed in response to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s call for communities to create 10-year plans to end longstanding homelessness, Heading Home representatives hope to propose a strategy and move towards its recommendations by late summer.

    With oversight by a Leadership Committee of representatives from the nonprofit, corporate, religious, government, and philanthropic sectors, this community planning process will identify ways to increase  the permanent affordable housing options available to the city’s underprivileged inhabitants.

    Kevin Jackson of the Chicago ReHab Network talked about their planning process in Chicago and the billions that were raised for affordable housing. He talked about the importance of all of the various advocates, homeless people, and housing providers sitting at the same table and setting goals.

    Needless to say, Heading Home will not eliminate poverty or homelessness in Cleveland. Nonetheless, this ambitious, solution-driven approach to affordable housing has the potential to greatly improve the lives of our residents in need. For more information see their website at www.headinghomecleveland.org.

 Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved


Cincinnati Attempts to Silence Panhandlers

by Justin Longa and Chuck Basil

    Due to an overabundance of homeless people and concern for public safety, the Cincinnati City Council passed two anti-panhandling ordinances in May of 1995. The purpose of these ordinances was to limit when and where asking for money is allowed. The first ordinance made it a crime to sit or lie down on Cincinnati’s downtown sidewalks or the skywalk during specified hours. The second made begging within a certain distance of particular buildings, ATM machines and crosswalks a crime. It also prohibited panhandling every day, regardless of distance restrictions, after 8:00pm. Much to the relief of homeless activists, those ordinances did not get the chance to see results.

    Before those ordinances went into effect, the ACLU of Ohio challenged their constitutionality on behalf of three homeless individuals brought on by a homeless activist. On May 22, 1998, Judge Sherman found both ordinances to be unconstitutional. He based his decision on these findings: 1) begging and panhandling were expressive acts protected by the First Amendment, 2) protecting the citizens was provided by the city’s aggressive panhandling ordinance, which wasn’t challenged in the lawsuit, 3) the ordinances were overly broad 4) the solicitation ordinance discriminated on the content of speech, and 5) neither adequately provided for alternative means by which homeless and poor people can communicate their requests.

     As expected, many lawsuits have been brought to court in order to uphold the constitutional rights of homeless people in cases where cities try to get rid of them. In another such instance, the city of Cincinnati attempted to remove homeless people from camping out under highway overpasses because of the image it portrayed to tourists.

    Jennifer Kinsley, attorney for a homeless man named Don Henry, forged an out-of-court settlement that called on the help of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless. They believed a better solution would be for the city to work with local social service agencies in order to help to improve the conditions for homeless people. The publicity of this suit drew a wide range of social service agencies and individuals who offered their help to homeless people. Social service agencies offered housing help, while individuals and churches brought food, and a Newport company quietly donated the use of a portable toilet.

    Not to be deterred, Cincinnati re-passed the panhandling ordinances in 2001, making it illegal to panhandle near a crosswalk, car, ATM, on-ramp, or after dark or before dawn, according to Georgine Getty, director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless.

    Cincinnati later passed another law in 2003 requiring that panhandlers obtain licenses from the city, but the law only pertains to panhandlers who speak. Getty states that panhandlers who simply hold a sign are still protected by the First Amendment.

     “We fought to have the city address why people are forced to panhandle (i.e. poverty, lack of housing) and asked that they implement an outreach worker to address unmet needs. The mayor (Charlie Luken) said he would veto this provision, so it was removed. Downtown businesses paid for the Outreach Worker who has been very successful in helping some people, but the unfairness of our crappy panhandling laws remains,” Getty said, via email.

      According to Getty, Jennifer Kinsley has also filed suit against the city concerning the panhandling laws. She rolled the suit into Don Henry’s suit as it demonstrates a pattern of hostility against homeless people in Cincinnati. The National Coalition for the Homeless voted Cincinnati the 3rd meanest city to homeless people in 2004.

    “We need to stop punishing people for actions that stem from poverty, such as panhandling, and start looking for systemic solutions to the housing crisis and lack of jobs that necessitate such activities,” said Getty.

Copyright NEOCH, The Homeless Grapevine #70, May 2005. All Rights Reserved