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