When thinking about policy, NEOCH always places the interests of homeless people first. NEOCH has a long history of advocating for better shelter conditions, less criminalization of homeless individuals, more affordable housing funds, and more. We continually engage the homeless community to see the kinds of policies and reforms they would like to see. As an advocacy organization, we take seriously the responsibility of having a strong focus on policy.
Panhandling in Cleveland
There is a lot of talk about passing laws to restict panhandling. NEOCH has a policy platform around panhandling. Here are our recommendations.
What to Do About People Sleeping Outside?
There are many cities passing laws to make homeless people invisible. This never works, and only creates more people with criminal backgrounds who will be outside. NEOCH has a policy platform around how to reduce the number of people sleeping outside. Here are our recommendations.
Time Limited Shelters
There were efforts underway to limit access to shelter by implementing a time limit for every shelter. NEOCH does not recommend this as a strategy to end homelessness. We actually believe that every city in the United States should have access to shelter if a person comes to the door asking for help. We believe that withholding shelter should not be a punishment for being poor. Everyone is different, and some times it takes three months to find a job others take 15 days. The reality is that the majority of homeless people spend less than a month in a shelter. Here is our policy briefing on this issue.
Proposed Shelter Minimum Standards
The Homeless Coalition and the Homeless Congress have proposed that every publicly funded shelter should be regulated by law. We are proposing a standard that anyone getting into a shelter could expect. We are proposing an easy to understand grievance procedure, and strong oversight by Cuyahoga County.
The Coalition recommends policy agenda around the increasing number of people who seek shelter in Cuyahoga County. We have worked over the last 20 years to improve the existing shelters and we have worked with those who sleep in the shelters on a policy position on overflowing shelters.
State wide Policy Agenda 2012
We have added a page of policy and advocacy agenda for the State of Ohio. These are the priority issues that homeless people have discussed as part of the Homeless Congress.
Food Distribution Outside in the City of Cleveland
NEOCH is opposed to any legislation that restricts the distribution of food by religious and civic groups. We do understand the problems associated with food distribution in public places, parks or downtown pedestrian spaces. NEOCH worked on a compromise in Cleveland to try to get all the religious groups to work together with City officials and social service providers to best serve the population experiencing homelessness or who are hungry. We have put together a page on our efforts to come to a compromise.