By Angelo Anderson
I met Brian when he was a volunteer at NEOCH. He didn’t have much to say, or maybe I didn’t have time to listen. He listened when Cleveland was hurting with the deterioration of its heart, the hopelessness a city experiences as its homeless numbers rises. He listened and he spoke up.
Brian is an advocate for the poor and homeless in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. His voice has been heard all over the country and his passion and understanding of homelessness and solutions that work to bring down the numbers for people living on the streets are highly respected.
Brian is leaving NEOCH, and Cleveland will be poorer because of it. Nobody wants to hear about inadequate facilities being used to house homeless women and children. Nobody wants to talk about people dying on the streets because their mental illness was so severe that they wouldn’t seek help for. No one wants to talk about the lack of funding for outreach on the streets so that we can provide short term help or these type programs just disappear.
Who’s going to advocate for safe sleeping places for the homeless people? Who will sit in on county meetings that determine how money is spent on combating homelessness in Cuyahoga County? Who will raise objections to inferior funding, policies that inadequately address homelessness and in some cases make living on the street a crime? Silence is often a sign of community support for policies that make it illegal to be poor.
For many years Brian Davis, and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, was the driving force behind ADVOCACY AGAINST HOMELESSNESS in Cuyahoga County. Many people didn’t like him, but all who work in the continuum of care respected him.
Brian, you will be missed.