By Steve Spalek
On Sunday morning, July 24, 1993 the county employees decided that enough is enough and tried to close Project: HEAT, site F, a homeless shelter located at 1642 Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland. However, the county was not able to succeed thanks to 40 or so clients.
The clients, who use site F as a place to sleep, decided to come together to look themselves inside the shelter building instead of leaving at the normal 6:30an time. The director of Project: Heat, Barbara Williams, came running down to our places and said she was outraged by what we are doing. She told us we must leave, or she would call the police, and we told her, “ Go ahead, and make our day”
Well, time passed, and the director did call the police and they came with about six cruisers. The police came in and again asked us to leave. We told them we had no place to go so weren’t leaving. Ms. Williams told us we weren’t allowed to go to another site and we would have to sleep out on the street for at least 3 nights. We told her , “ No way”. When the police arrived, they saw that we meant no harm to anyone so they left.
Well, timed passed. We were fed thanks to the generosity of St. Augustine and the Salvation Army’s Christmas in July [program taking place the same day. Then finally about 4:30pm or so, a decision was made which allowed us to stay another week until
Project: HEAT could find us another place. They did. It was Harbor Light, a complex owned by the Salvation Army. “Harbor Light is terrible” said one of the clients. The basement hall they put us in has ventilation – no windows or air of any type. The bathroom facility has only one toilet and one sink for 40 plus guys to use , and no shower. Then they wonder why the guys stink.
The homeless on the streets of Cleveland have skills such as carpentry, plumbing, construction, and electric and would like you help in finding us a new building for shelter. So if you have a vacant building in the city, whether it be downtown or wherever, and would like it to be fixed up and wouldn’t mind some homeless guys moving in, please write us c/o The Homeless Grapevine and we will get back to you
Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine Fall 1993 Issue 3