Shelter Protest Postponed
The planned protest in front of the Community Women’s Shelter was postponed while members of Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s staff attempt to resolve some of the issues. According to press releases from Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (publisher of The Homeless Grapevine), there are objections to treatment by security guards, excessive punishments, and an inability to have grievances heard effectively acted upon within the shelter. Officials of the Coalition for the homeless and Mental Health Services, operator of the shelter, met to discuss compromises. It is hoped that by mid-October all the women at the shelter will have an appropriate venue to express concerns and have those concerns addressed properly.
HUD Watching Homeless Stats
The Federal government has asked that each community turn in accurate counts of the number of homeless people using services from the first few months of the year. Many cities told the federal government that they were not participate. Cleveland submitted numbers, which were accepted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development Four out of the largest five shelters in Cleveland did not participate, so their numbers were estimated. (Editor’s Note: This is similar to printing batting statistics in the Sunday paper for Major League Baseball and estimating the statistics from four out of the five best teams.) More surprising was the Federal government accepted these statistics given that our largest facility, 2100 Lakeside, holds 30% of all shelter beds in the community and they did not participate. Advocates anticipate that HUD will very soon use these flawed numbers as the basis for funding decisions, and may cut funding accordingly.
25,000 Families Wounded by Medicare Cuts
With the passage of the new State of Ohio Budgets, approximately 25,000 families will lose their health care coverage. At this time in Ohio, single adults have no medical insurance and are forced to use the emergency rooms in Ohio for their medical needs. Now, state officials are trying to control the burgeoning health care expenditure by reducing the number of families covered by Medicaid. In addition, the Disability Medical Care, which provided assistance to people with a disability waiting for federal assistance, is undergoing major changes. The state appointed a study commission that would report on the future of DA. Finally, the dental assistance provided to poor people was also nearly eliminated.
2100 Resident Council Backs Neighborhood Watch
The Men’s Shelter at 2100 Lakeside have instituted a new program in which men who reside at the shelter volunteer to patrol the surrounding community in search of problems. Earlier in 2005, a shelter resident was killed in the neighborhood after a domestic dispute. This prompted the neighborhood, the residents and staff to come up with a plan to address this concern. A group of men volunteered and were trained as a neighborhood watch. They are in contact with the shelter and are directed to observe, but not to engage in conflicts.
The Resident Council at 2100 Lakeside was skeptical of the idea when it was first proposed. The Council worried about their safety and the fact that people were being punished for activities that took place outside the shelter.
After two months, the Resident Council has expressed support for the program. There is still concern over the safety of the men, but they agree that it has pushed drug and other criminal activity away from the shelter. This is a problem for the neighborhoods next to the shelter, but the area around the shelter seems to be safer and a quieter place to stay according members of the shelter resident Council.
New Transitional Facility Opens
A new facility for men graduating from 2100 Lakeside Shelter opened near St. Procops Catholic Church on the West Side of Cleveland. The facility was an old convent on the church campus and was boarded-up and unused. Local construction companies and men from 2100 Lakeside completely renovated the facility and it opened in the summer of 2005. The facility offers rooms for the men while they transition to stability and find employment and permanent housing. The men were part of the Community Service Institute at the shelter and have settled into this independent living facility.
Homeless Programs Find New Homes
The State of Ohio reclaimed the North Coast Behavioral Center behind Metro Health hospital emergency room. The previous administrators had offered Cleveland Community Voice Mail and the other programs under the Coalition for the Homeless offered space in the largely vacant building. The new administrators asked Community Voices Mail and the others to move. This allowed Cleveland Community Voice Mail to upgrade their system and relocated to a building at West 103rd and Lorain Ave. Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance Program also relocated with Voice Mail, but they do most of their work at the shelters and drop-in centers. Cleveland Community Voice Mail will keep its telephone number, and will have an additional 500 telephone numbers available to give to homeless people. NEOCH’s Bridging the Gap, a program which works to house homeless people is ironically still homeless.
Housing Cleveland.org Ready for Tenants
The new website available to homeless people in need of housing is up and running. (See “Housing Cleveland.org Ready for Landlords “Issue 71) The website is available through many social service providers and at every library with internet connections. The site allows landlords to list their property for free and then provides a searchable database for those in need of housing. People can search for specific bedroom sizes, specific rent levels, specific neighborhoods, and more. After one month in operation, the site already has 500 different properties listed. The site also provides a rent calculator to figure out how much a family can afford to pay in rent depending on the monthly income of the household. There is section on local landlord/tenants’ rights and a number of forms to print out to help with a search. The site was funded by Cuyahoga County and is coordinated by a large number of organizations locally including First Call for Help and Bridging the Gap.
Copyright NEOCH Homeless Grapevine; Cleveland, Ohio for October/November 2005 in Issue 73