I Miss Working at the West Side Market

by Jennifer Black

 Today is October 9th and it’s raining. I felt pretty good today, so I went outside for the first time in a long time.

I’ve had a lot of tests at the hospital regarding my past bout of cancer, and it’s hard for me to be on my feet for too long. I’m trying to get well, because I miss working at the Market. I hope, by the grace of God, I’ll be able to start working again soon.

It’s been a while since I last worked at the West Side Market, at least a couple of months. I miss being there. Michael is always cheerful when he comes home from his shift at the Market. I miss feeling that way after working my shift.

I’m sad because I miss my work, the people, and being at the Market. Michael’s cheerfulness reminds me of how good I’d feel after a shift – helping people and having them to talk to. Selling the Chronicle gave me something to look forward to, something to do besides thinking about how much pain I was in or how tired I felt.

The tiredness comes from my emphysema, that’s why I’ve been so sick lately. But, I’m tired of laying around and having nothing to do. I miss having a life, and feeling like I had something to look forward to.

I’ve been helping my daughter out a little bit, lately. She’s pregnant, and this pregnancy has been hard on her. My 11-year-old grandson stays with us on the weekends, and he’s been very helpful. Having him stay with us helps her to get some rest, and helps me to get things done at home.

I’m stressed out about not working, but eager to get back on the ball! I’m hopeful that the cancer is still in remission. I hope the cancer hasn’t come back, and doesn’t come back, that’s why I’m going through all these tests. No matter what the outcome, I’ll try to put my best foot forward.

One day at a time.

Welcome to the New Director and I Will Miss the Old One

By Dolores

First of all, I would like to welcome Chris as the new Director and hope he will be friendly, witty, and have a sense of humor like Brian did. I would like to take time out to write about Brian. I remember Brian Davis when he had NEOCH on West 25th, Room 213.  This was a very small space compared to the space NEOCH occupies today.  Brian made up the rules for us to be able to sell the paper at the Westside Market.  Vendors had to volunteer 40 hours for every 2 week shift. 

Brian, even though I was out of a job for a while, you showed me a lot that I didn’t know before.  You taught me not to listen to other people, you taught me how to write an article, you helped keep me off the streets, you helped me plan a budget, and you helped me to better myself.

Brian, I will miss your charm, sense of humor, and witty-ness.  I have known you for over 20 years, first on West 25th and now here on Perkins; when the paper was called the Grapevine and now the Chronicle

Vending Problems in the City of Cleveland

By Kim “Supermutt” Goodman

 

For years the city of Cleveland had three vending zones for entrepreneurs who bought peddler’s licenses for the downtown area. Zone 1 was created for the Browns games. The area covers W. 9th to E 12th from Lakeside to Superior. Zone 2 was for the Indians and Cavs. The service area was E. 9th to E 14th from Prospect to Carnegie. Zone 3 was created to serve the Convocation Center area. When the Convocation Center became less popular things changed. Zone 1 didn’t change but Zones 2 and 3 were combined and became the new Zone 3.

There was a limited amount of 9th Street permits so each person’s name was placed in a lottery. If a person’s name was selected someone from City Hall would call them and they had the option to accept it or decline it. This usually happens before the beginning of baseball season. If the person accepted the 9th street permit, their license would be updated until the end of baseball season even though permits normally expire July 31st.

This year things changed in Zone 3 and a new Zone 4 was created for the Playhouse Square area. Zone 3 was separated by spots that were supposedly given by a computer generated system. The way this is supposed to work is that when a person buys a permit for Zone 3, the computer assigns them a spot. The rule is that each person or business can buy up to 5 licenses; that is, if one can afford to.

Therefore, if one person bought up 5 spots, but didn’t get the spot they wanted, they would use someone else to buy 5 more until they got that spot. Another person bought 5 spots and didn’t get the spot he wanted, so he did the same to get the spot he wanted. In the end he had a bunch of spots. When other people went to renew their licenses, they either got a crappy spot or no spot at all. Many long-time vendors were out of work (can’t sell because they don’t have a permit) while waiting to see if their names came up on the waiting list.

There is nothing wrong with allowing people to buy up a bunch of spots to get the spot they want if they can afford to do it. What is unfair about it is not requiring the people to forfeit the areas they don’t want, so the lower income vendors can have a good spot. Not every vendor is a big business. Some people who sell merchandise and peanuts in the downtown area are people who don’t have a lot but are trying to earn an honest living. They are people with disabilities who struggle with standard employment, who may have at one time been under-employed or un-employed. They are people who are elderly and need a little extra money to make ends meet or people who have retired from their jobs and need something else to do. It doesn’t matter if a person is a big business or a low-income person in search of an extra income. Each person should have the right to earn some type of an income for themselves.

I write about this, because this affects me. In addition to selling the paper I also sell peanuts and handmade necklaces. I used to sell merchandise without a permit when I was homeless; they wouldn’t sell me one because I didn’t have a physical street address. There were plenty of times when I got a ticket for selling with no license because I couldn’t get one. As soon as I got my first real place to live, I got a Zone 1 permit. I’ve held a Zone 1 permit since 2003. It wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to break down and buy a Zone 3 permit. Each year I’ve bought a permit faithfully. My spot has always been in the area of Prospect and 9th Street. Now my new spot is 14th and Carnegie. Because there is very little foot traffic in that area, I am not making any money.

I contacted City Hall to see about getting my spot changed, but as of the time I am writing this article, nothing has been done.        

The State of the Country

Well the election is over and we have a new president, Donald Trump.  Let’s review these first 100 days and the state of the country since he has become president of these UNITED STATES.  The Dow is still going up, there are a few more people working, we don’t have a new Health Plan, poor people are expecting to become poorer, he still has Russia hanging over his head, and he has hired most of the people close to him and they are now FIRED.  It’s like watching The Apprentice in real life, but it’s happening at the White House. 

His popularity has gone down. So it really hasn’t been a great 100 days for President Trump.  I as an American citizen feel upset.  Not because I didn’t vote for him, but because from my observation he is running the country like he ran his TV show, The Apprentice.  He doesn’t have a clue about how to run a country.  I hate to think of the future after Trump.  He’s hired all these people with no experience in public service, but all were put in positions that can cripple the United States.  They are learning secrets about this country that the average citizen doesn’t know.   Who knows what they will use it for once they leave their positions.  We already have Bannon saying he can help the president more by his dismissal because of what he has learned being by his side.  Now we have a White Nationalist who has obtained secrets about the United States back on the air stirring up more trouble and the United States being torn apart at the seam.

 Trump supporters are distancing themselves from the president.  The country is in disarray.  What is it as Americans that we can do or say?   Where do we go from here?  Can we ever get back to being America?  Are we headed down the road of no return?  America what will our future hold for our children?  These are questions we must begin to answer for ourselves and our children.  Something positive has to be done to get America back on the right track.  I ask all Americans to stand up for what is right.  Let’s get America back to where America needs to be, on top; a country where people want to come, because most of us still believe in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. 

I just hope that we don’t get into war with North Korea, because more middle to low income people will die for America while upper middle class and rich people stay home and tell the returning soldiers, “Thanks for your service.”  Let’s bring back the draft so those who weren’t around can witness how people dodge serving this country in the Armed Forces.

As I remember, during the campaign for President Donald Trump’s message was, “Let’s Make America Great Again.”  Well how great has he made America?  Stand up America. We deserve better; not with force, but with Peace.  Until next time, keep the faith.

Buzzy

THE FINAL BOW

BY Dori Zdzieborski

We awaken to the glistening sun

Peering out from the tumultuous clouds

We reach up and bask in the glorious rays

Gently swaying, as Zephros caresses our tender leaves

But doubt not, our stalks are strong

2000 individuals unite

To form a federated fight

Thundering gales we will endure

For we are a whimsical fleur

Our color matters not

But a tragic tale we begot

Tucked away, hidden from view

A few tall ones will beckon those to come and see

Small and mighty, but forgotten not

But be warned, it can get quite hot

So under the canopy you can rest

And take a moment to let it all digest.

Capture us by lens, eye or brush

For our field of dreams is rather lush

The bees dance on our blackened eyes

We know that time will lead to our demise

So a piece of us they take

For when we will no longer be able to awake

A piece of us lives on

After our heavy heads can stand no more

 

The birds will spread our seeds about

So that our journey can start anew

Every sunflower must take a final bow

But no applause is necessary

For a good reason, is not why we are weary

A cure for all, we someday vow.

The Catholic Worker’s Storefront, Commonly Known as The Drop

By Artie Price

The Drop is at 4241 Lorain Avenue.  The Drop is an important safe place for individuals who have nowhere to go.  At The drop a person can get a shower, clean clothes, and a hot meal and they have movie nights on Wednesdays.  They serve popcorn on movie nights.  I enjoy sitting in there and drinking coffee.

I go there to fellowship with the people.  I go there to talk to friends and get a meal.  It is a nice place where homeless people can sit and chill, play cards and drink some coffee. In the wintertime you can go inside and sit and keep warm.  They try to help people with whatever their needs are. 

I have been going to The Drop for about 4 or 5 years.  I have gotten shoes and socks and there is a lot of fellowship.  They always greet me with a hug and a handshake and they make me feel real welcome.  When you go in and feel depressed, you leave not depressed because you feel the love from the people.  The volunteers make you feel like you are somebody while you are there.  They show a lot of love and make you feel loved.  I go there once or twice a week and I look forward to going.

I try to help the other people who go there.  I have known friends who have died from drugs and I try to help people who are homeless that go there.  I try to listen to their problems and help them.  I tell them I will pray for them. 

Every now and then counselors come in and we get a chance to talk about our problems, addictions and find out where we can go for shelter.  

Chris Knestrick, the new director of Operations for NEOCH is a volunteer at The Drop.  Chris tries to help the people out; he makes them eat and feel good about themselves.

If you have nowhere to go or are hungry, you can always go to The Drop.  Their hours are Wednesday and Thursday 7-9pm, Friday 3-5pm, Saturday 9:30-11:30 am and Sundays 3-6pm.

Tammy Hobbs’ Story

By Tammy Hobbs

I am a vendor. I write articles for and sell The Cleveland Street Chronicle newspaper. The Cleveland Street Chronicle has articles about issues that affect homeless people.  Articles are written by people who are homeless, have experienced homelessness, and people who work with the homeless.

I haven’t been able to work for the past two weeks because I haven’t been feeling very well. Not being able to work has negatively impacted my income. It’ll be hard for me to pay my bills this month. I have another source of income that I get on a monthly basis, but it isn’t enough to meet my expenses.

My job selling The Cleveland Street Chronicle is very serious and very important to me. Selling the paper helps me survive because it increases my income by 30%. My rent is paid by my other income, but the money I make selling The Cleveland Street Chronicle helps me pay some of my utility bills and buy food.

If I wasn’t able to sell the paper long-term, it would be hard for me to pay my bills and I’d go hungry. I could go to a food pantry, but they don’t give you much if you’re a single person. I haven’t had any friends or family who could help me. I depend on The Cleveland Street Chronicle not only to help myself but to help others as well.

The back page of The Cleveland Street Chronicle is filled with lists of services that are available to help homeless people. There are lists for local meal sites, which include the addresses and days and times meals are served; the names and telephone numbers of local homeless shelters; and contact information for organizations that provide services to homeless people and people who are low-income.  

I’m blessed to be a part of The Cleveland Street Chronicle and I will continue to be a vendor for as long as I can. I hope that I’m back to work soon, but if not, I know when and where I can get a hot meal.

by Diana Robinson

 When I was staying in a shelter, I had to be separated from my 12 year old son.  I had 3 girls and 2 boys to take care of.  My youngest son stayed with his father.  My 12 year old son had to stay at a men’s shelter.  It was very hard for us, especially because he wasn’t use to being separated from the rest of the family.  He took it kind of hard.  He ran away from the shelter to go over his aunt’s house and got jumped.  The attackers broke his arm and there was nothing I could do. 

While I was at this shelter, I was not able to locate housing within the time allowed.  I would drop the girls off at school and then go look for housing.  I only had time to look at one place because I had to pick up the girls from school and get back to the shelter by a certain time.  At the second shelter, I stayed there without “any” of my children.  They had to be transferred to another school.  My oldest child stayed with my sister, the two oldest of the girls stayed with my mom, and the two youngest stayed with their dad. 

I got lucky at the second shelter because they helped me find a duplex apartment.  I got my family back together and we stayed there for 3 months before I was accepted for Section 8 and CMHA.  I picked CMHA.  I was so happy to have my family back together, although they had to adjust to living in the projects.  Eventually, they made the adjustment and now all of my children are grown.

The Story of My Life

By Raymond Jacobs

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana February 3rd, 1947. I had 2 siblings. For people that haven’t read my first two articles, this is the last time I’m going to write about this. I’m writing this because a lot of people ask me questions about my life and my past.

My life was perfect as a child. When I turned 16 years old I rode with a group. They called us the Freedom Riders. We were trying to get the Right to Vote Act out. I left the Freedom Riders when three young men went missing and were later found dead in Mississippi. So President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in honor of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. They were the young men who were found dead in Mississippi.

So at age 17 when everything was said and done, I joined the United States Marine Corps. I was sent to a country called Vietnam where I had to fight in a war. I came back in 1966 with a bullet in me. I was spit on, had feces and urine thrown on me, and had eggs thrown at me. Anything a person could pick up they threw. As all of us soldiers stood on the street corner being harassed, I told the people to not condemn the troops, condemn the proper government who sent us there. It was not the troops’ fault that we were at war, we were just sent there. It was the government who decided they wanted us to protect America.

 I ended up doing 26 years in prison between two states, Louisiana and Ohio. In a place called Angola I did 16 years and in Ohio I did 10 years. They threw me out with $24 in my pocket in 1994.  I have lived in Cleveland since May 13, 1994. I have panhandled and sold the paper, which I’m still doing. I’ve been a free man for over 20 years doing the right thing out here.

I’ve had several people ask me to write about me so here it is. I got a lot of friends in Cleveland, mainly police officers. Every Friday and Saturday I stand at the corner of Market and 25th selling the paper. I’ve built up a pretty good business right there.             

Owning Courage

By Tiffany Duff

Courage means that no matter the circumstance, you won’t give up.

Courage is a virtue in itself.  You need courage in order to stand up for your principles and core values.

When you remain strong you will realize that there is no need to fear.  Courage is something that you must own. 

Throughout all your adversities, you will learn that you would not have made it without courage.

Indeed, you are capable of achieving great things! 

You stand for so much; you have a lot to be proud of.  You are a very brave person and you should be recognized for your fortitude. 

It is always courageous and best to be light-hearted during times of strife.  You are accountable for your very own intervention.

The best part about courage is knowing that you are not alone.  There is always someone who you can relate to. 

When you are able to survive profoundly difficult/incomprehensible circumstances, you will understand that you had courage the whole time.

Written by Artie Price’s niece, Tiffany Duff

By Dan McCarthy

How much can change in a year? Think back to what life was like in Sept. 2016. What were you doing?

While the federal government's deportation machine was already deporting and imprisoning millions, for millions more immigrants, the American political climate has accelerated down on its frightening descent. Since January 2017, a new president rose to power preaching a total ban on Muslims entering the United States. He vilified Latinos, promising to construct a new, enormous wall on the Mexican border to supplement the already existing, immense fortifications.

For the first time in decades, the United States resettled more than 100,000 refugees this past year. This, at a time when tens of millions of people languish in miserable camps outside of conflict zones across the globe. As of September 27, the number of people who can enter the United States through the refugee resettlement channel was cut by more than half for the upcoming year, capped at 45,000 by the Trump administration.

So, this is the story for one of those thousands of refugees who had fallen on hard times, as so many do: who had to work her way through the homeless shelter system here in Cleveland.

I accompanied Sara (not her real name) to Central Intake on September 2, 2016. It was a Friday morning. She had arrived in Cleveland that week and had slept outside her first two nights, toddler in tow. She came to Catholic Charities at St. Augustine (7800 Detroit Avenue) that Friday morning because it was somewhere she knew she could go in Cleveland.

Upon her arrival from Somalia one year previous, Migration Refugee Services (MRS) had resettled her to Cleveland. Before that she had lived in a refugee camp. After arriving, she moved away from Cleveland for some time before returning. Now, she was several months pregnant and speaking little English: she had miserable experiences with homeless shelters up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She told me how a volunteer at one shelter forcefully ripped off Sara's hijab.

It's no coincidence that in tandem with this religious hatred expressed by this volunteer, with this hatred directed toward Muslims in this country, that today, according to the newest presidential executive order, Somalis are banned generally from entering the United States. So are Syrians. People from Yemen, Libya, Iran, and elsewhere all are told to stay out. All these nations are majority Muslim—these bans are an obvious attempt to make good on that campaign promise to ban Muslims from the U.S.

So, it was a year ago, before any travel ban took effect, that we met in the lobby at MRS. We talked through other Somali speakers and decided we needed to find her a spot to sleep for the weekend. I called Laura's Home, who in turn directed us to Central Intake. So, we got in the car and we went to Bishop Cosgrove Center (1700 Superior Avenue).

It was about 10:30 AM when we got buzzed into Cosgrove. When we arrived, there were two families—two mothers with their little boys and girls—another family with both parents and two little ones, three older gentlemen, a woman in her forties by herself, and a teenager waiting to go through intake with Frontline. Everybody needed somewhere to sleep that night.

All the seats were taken, so folks were sitting up and down the staircase. Ten chairs were the extent of the accommodations on the second-floor landing that doubled as the waiting area. Workers would often step over people who were desperate for sleep. We signed in with the worker at the desk in front of Frontline's door and waited. This worker was a young woman, an employee of Securitas, a for-hire security company. It was remarkable that she did the most to give a sense of respect and dignity for everybody waiting for placement. We sat for a few hours until lunch. Some people came and went, including families—people went to eat and came back

Returning from lunch, families began to get processed. It was around 3:00 PM when we saw a caseworker. She was able to do the intake through an interpreter she called on her desk phone. When the intake was finished, Sara got placed at Harbor Light. She and her son could stay there for three days before she would have to repeat the process.

Fast forward; Fatima found a house before her baby was delivered. He arrived healthy, and he arrived beautiful, as babies always do. But it would be naive to say their struggles would disappear.

While we waited, I wondered: what aspects of the process to secure shelter could be improved? Waiting all day for an intake is a major time-drain for folks who have—more often than not—plenty that needs attending to. Families sat for over six hours in some cases under the impression that if they left they would lose their place in line. I wonder if it is possible to give a family a place in line or a time to return that day for an intake. In doing so, perhaps people would have more time to attend to their other day-to-day necessities.

Furthermore, I wonder what could occupy the children while they waited. Inevitably, children got antsy sitting that long. However, there was nowhere for the kids to play. The children made the stair landing between the first and second floors a makeshift play area, but this activity was shut down by nearby workers.

Additionally, almost everybody waiting was carrying all their possessions as you are apt to do when you have nowhere to lay your head. Other cities will offer large, numbered, rubber trash-bins where folks can store their belongings during the day. Individuals can check a bin out to use, and the bins are kept in a secure room. Cleveland doesn't have anything like this. Posted signs in Cosgrove explicitly forbid people from leaving personal effects in the building.

How can Cleveland ensure a real preferential option for poor people? For homeless people? For refugees?

I pray that God will bless all people who work to meet the needs of their sisters and brothers. In particular, may God bless those who work to ensure emergency shelters for families and better access to safe, public, and affordable housing.

Ohio Women Veterans Conference - Celebrating Generations of Service

by Joyce Robinson

They came from North, East, West, and Central Ohio.

They represented the five branches of the United States Armed Forces: Army (“This We’ll Defend”), Air Force (“Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win”), Navy (“Semper Fortis” – Always Courageous”), Marines (“Semper Fidelis” – Always Faithful), and Coast Guard (“Semper Paratus” –Always Ready).

They Were Ohio Women Veterans! HOOAH! (I’m a female Army Veteran!)

Ohio is home to 67,000 women veterans! The biennial Ohio Women Veterans Conference is one of the largest gatherings of women veterans in the nation! This year’s conference was held Saturday, Aug. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Ohio State University Union in Columbus.

The keynote address, “Celebrating Generations of Service,” was given by Dr. Betty Moseley Brown, the Associate Director of the Veterans Administration Center for Women Veterans and a Marine Corps veteran.

The oldest female veteran in Ohio, 102-year-old Betty Cassleman of Fremont, addressed the conference via video. Ms. Cassleman served as an Instructor of Pilots during WWII, from November 1943 thru November 1945. The oldest and the youngest female veterans in attendance, 94-years-old and 22-years-old respectively, were each given a gift.

Veterans and current military members who attended the conference found information about Ohio’s new fast track to jobs and education for veterans, services available locally through Ohio’s 88 County Veterans Service Offices and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Women Veterans programs and benefits. Workshops covered topics such as community service, employment, entrepreneurship, military retirement, money management, and health and wellness.

“The Ohio Women Veterans Conference is an awesome opportunity to meet and connect with our sisters in arms,” said Angela Beltz, chairwoman of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services Women Veterans Advisory Committee. “It’s a rare time when women veterans of all eras from WWII to present day Iraq and Afghanistan come together to celebrate progress and learn about the benefits we have earned.”

Malachi House Celebrates 30th Anniversary

by Mike McGrew

Malachi House celebrates its 30th Anniversary this fall, but more importantly, it will be celebrating the legacies of two individuals - Father Paul Hritz and Catherine “Kaki” O’Neill. These leaders represented the concerns of St. Malachi parishioners who couldn’t accept without protest encountering people dying alone and unsheltered throughout the Near W\est Side, which was less developed in the 1980s than it is today.

In an interview Malachi House’s Executive Director, Judy Ghazoul Hilow, repeatedly emphasized that Malachi House is “a home, not a hospice” and that their main goal is that no one there is alone in a room at the moment that they pass from this world.

Malachi House represents the many people of faith being driven by a sense of religious mission to help those who are suffering. Catholic iconography is prominent throughout the facility and Hilow specifically states that a “calling from God” motivated her to return to the workforce after raising her children, specifically to help in the nonprofit sector. But she also goes out of her way to point out that residents of Malachi House come from various faith backgrounds and that pastoral help is brought in to assist them on their journey irrespective of denomination or religion.

A basement storeroom that seems to never end as one turns corner after corner is filled with donated foodstuffs. However, the most valuable donated resource is the time of the volunteers – referred to as “Angels” – who make up the equivalent of three full-time employees. Not having volunteers would be a strain on a $1.5M budget, one-third of which comes from foundations and which is not supplemented by government funds, even Medicaid.

As every one of the 15 residents that call Malachi House home at any given time would otherwise have nowhere else to go, this facility offers a shining example of a home for the unhoused (homeless?).

Malachi House’s 30th Anniversary Gala will be held at The Cleveland Museum of Art on Saturday, November 4, 2017. Those interested in getting involved via volunteering or donating can contact Judy Ghazol Hilow at jhilow@malachihouse.org.

Letter From the Editor

by Chris Knestrick

Dear Reader,

Transitions are an important part of our work.  As we know from living in Northeast Ohio, the four seasons transition every year from summer to fall and winter to spring, just as social justice organizations slow down, speed up, and transition. These moments are important to inspire new ideas, build new alliances, and produce organizational growth. Established leaders step back to make room for fresh people to bring new energy and innovation. Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is in this moment.

As I start my position as the new Director of NEOCH and in turn become the new editor of the Street Chronicle, I want to recognize this moment. I am filled with gratitude to be chosen to lead and edit a paper with such a legacy of raising the concerns and the voice of people who are shelter insecure. These voices are all too often silenced in our communities, governments and institutions.  I take this position determined that the paper remains a place for people experiencing homelessness and previously unhoused people can express their views and tell their stories.

I bring years of experience working with and building relationships with people experiencing homelessness in the city of Cleveland. I have traveled the globe partnering with human rights defenders struggling for a more just world. In Colombia, I worked alongside local small-famers as they defended their land from mass displacement by documenting human rights violations and calling for accountability.  I bring these experience with me to this position as I return home to do social justice work in Cleveland

I promise to uphold our mission statement that has guided us in our work for so many years. I will continue to work “to organize and empower homeless and at risk men, women and children to break the cycle of homelessness through public education, advocacy, and the creation of nurturing environments.”  We believe that this paper is part of fulfilling this mission statement. This project is empowering to those that write in the pages.  The writers find their own power and voice by telling their stories. Lived experiences offer wisdom and knowledge that cannot be taught in a classroom. In turn, the reader is offered a chance to learn.

We cannot do this work alone. In the coming years, we need to come together to strengthen our community. Federal and local policies being implemented will continue to impact communities of color, the poor and working poor, and those living through a housing crisis at this moment. We need to center the voices of those being impacted by these decisions. This paper seeks to do just that.  

Last night

By Angelo Anderson

 Last night I ate chicken wings from the garbage can on 4th street it’s a good place to find doggie bags from the restaurants on that street.  I walked over to the alley next to May Company, got in the corner and slept.

Last night I went to a tail gate party drunk and ate for free, panhandled some money, went to the hood, got high, then slept in the park until the police woke me up and told me to move along.

Last night I found a bus pass and rode the bus all night then went to St Augustine for breakfast.

Last night I hung out on public square. The food people were there and feed us soup with coffee. I went to the alley and slept.

Last night I panhandled on Play House square, made enough to smoke all night, and walked to breakfast at the church.

Last night I hung out in the flats, swept up the floor and put the chairs out for a concert, listened to the show, got paid, got high and slept in the bus shelter.

Last night I slept in the emergency room, because it was so cold out. I had to leave at 7:00am when shift changed.

Last night I went to the men’s shelter. It had 75 mats on the floor and a bath room with two sinks and two stalls. I won’t be back.

Last night I slept in a port-a-potty, maybe this will be my last night on the street. God willing it will be.

NOTICE OF HOUSING AVAILABILITY

Applications are now being accepted for the

 Inez Killingsworth Pointe Permanent Supportive Housing Project

Opening December 2017

Inez Killingsworth Pointe is located in the Union Miles neighborhood at 4175 East 131st St, Cleveland, OH 44105. It is one of Cleveland’s Permanent Supportive Housing Projects and will provide affordable, supportive housing to homeless individuals with disabilities. Inez Killingsworth Pointe will provide a secure, affordable, and independent living environment with support service staff that includes a Program Manager, Social Workers and an Employment Specialist

Eligibility Requirements:

•      An applicant’s current living situation must meet HUD’s chronic definition of homelessness and be referred by Coordinated Intake. Priority will be given to applicants who have been in a shelter or on the streets the longest.

•      Applicants have to have a disability and priority will be given to persons with Mental Illness, HIV/AIDS, and/or Substance Abuse Disorders

•      All households have to meet Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Income Guidelines

•      Assets must be evaluated in determining eligibility

•      Full time students are not eligible for tenancy

Inez Killingsworth Pointe will be a newly constructed three-story, 66-unit building. The maximum occupancy limit per unit will be one person. Each unit will be a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment with a private bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room.  Handicapped-accessible units will also be available. Community spaces include a computer learning center, community room, laundry room and a shared outdoor patio. There will also be twenty four-hour, on-site front desk staff.

Applications are available at the following locations:                EDEN Inc. Offices

                7812 Madison Avenue

                Cleveland, OH 44102

                (216) 961-9690

 Applications will be considered in the order in which they are received. Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and applicants will be asked to participate in at least two interviews. At the time of these interviews, property management staff will review  the applicant’s financial, criminal, and housing histories. Acceptance for Inez Killingsworth Pointe is based on all of these criteria. At no time during the application process will an applicant be guaranteed an apartment until you sign a lease.

Applications must be hand delivered or mailed to EDEN’s offices.

Please contact Mike Rudolph for further information at (216) 961-9690.

 We are pledged to the letter and spirit of US policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

By Lucille Egan

It has been a difficult summer for me.  I have always been extremely independent. Earlier this summer a car accident forced me to take a few months away from the one activity that truly makes me happy—and that is selling the Street Chronicle.  People often said how wonderful it was that I drove at 90 years old—I was never one to sit around and wait for things to happen.  Now it is a new chapter in my life. 

I feel lucky that nobody was involved in the accident and I just needed time to recuperate.  I often thought about my co-workers and customers during my time away.  At times they all felt like family and I was missing everyone.  I want to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation to NEOCH, my co-workers at Street Chronicle, and those customers at the West Side Market who have been asking about me and wondering about my whereabouts.  I was amazed at the concern; it meant the world to me. 

I am elated to be back selling the Street Chronicle.  One of the things I enjoy most is interacting with the public.  It is so nice to see old faces and meeting new ones.  Anyone who knows me, knows how much I especially enjoy seeing and talking to the children.  Selling the paper gives me a chance to communicate by sharing news and articles about homeless people.  The paper also provides information on ways to get involved should you want to help. 

Buying the Street Chronicle is a good, small start.  Take a look at the back of the paper and you will discover shelters that are dedicated to helping homeless people.  You will see local shelter addresses and phone numbers for men, women, youth, and even domestic violence survivors.  There is also a list of agencies like the Northeast Ohio Coalition should you want to help.  If you would like to volunteer, reach out to these organizations using the contact information you see provided in the paper. 

Lastly, I would like to say I feel energized from returning. Selling the Street Chronicle is not a job.  I feel it is a labor of love and understanding for homeless people

How I Feel About Homeless People

by Bobbete Robinson

I feel badly for people who are homeless! I feel like homeless people are nice people who deserve good things in their lives. They need a place to lay their heads. They need food to eat.

I don’t like seeing them outside asking people for money; they should have money in their pockets. I don’t like that they can’t just go buy food for themselves because they don’t have any money. I don’t think that they should have to look the way they look; they should have decent clothes. I don’t think that they should have to sleep at bus stops; they should have a roof over their heads, their own homes. I don’t think that the government is helping homeless people because I don’t think that the government cares about homeless people.

I feel that rich people are living good lives, while the homeless are not. The rich have homes and food; the homeless do not have either.

I feel that there are nice homeless people and that they deserve nice things. This is coming from my heart!

If I had a big house, I would help get them everything they needed. Instead of walking past them I would offer to help them, even though I don’t know them.

Home Less Ness Defined

By Stephanie Hawkins

Homelessness is a word that numerous people would be hard pressed to define.  Many may describe it, many will ignore it, but unless you have experienced it, it is merely a word in our vocabulary that we just gloss over.  Literally, HOME is defined as a place where one lives permanently as a member of a family or household, but an alternate definition is an institution for people needing professional care or supervision.  The operative word is people, but do the words ‘people’ and ‘institution’ seem compatible in any way? People conveys emotion, but institution conveys cold indifference.

LESS is defined as fewer in number or one of low rank or importance.  Again the contradiction. LESS gives the illusion that the number of homeless individuals is decreasing, a misnomer then.  Now, the definition ‘of lower importance’ is true. 

Lastly, NESS, something in a certain state. Accurate again, since homeless individuals often are viewed as SOMETHING in a STATE. But it can also be defined as a Promontory. A promontory, which I had to look up, is a protuberance from an organ. So, to summarize, when defining homelessness, one is an institution for those who have a low rank or importance and are viewed as something in a certain state that sticks out of an organ.  Maybe just say appendix, since it sticks out like a sore thumb but, man, can it be a problem when it acts up.  Regardless, of how it is defined, and every individual’s definition will be different, homelessness is not just a word, but a real issue that cannot be ignored. It is not something that can just be swept under the rug or hidden behind a brickhouse, but a tangible, pulsating force, who needs to be fed, clothed, housed, given quality mental health and medical care, and treated with dignity and respect.

When I was first introduced to NEOCH, I was sitting in Bishop Cosgrove Center and a friend said, “Come to this meeting and you can get a bus pass.” Walking is probably the primary transportation of many homeless individuals (the trolley, albeit fantastic, can only take you so far). No one wants you in their car, although they are very good at driving by and doing nothing.  If I had a dollar for every time someone said “I saw you walking” and did nothing, I could have amassed a small fortune let alone not been one of those unfortunate people trapped in what I consider the ”pothole.”

What is the pothole you may ask?  That’s the group of homeless people who are too old, but not old enough, not addicted to drugs, and have no children.  We are not important enough to receive assistance, which leaves one with a lot of time.  Many choose to use this time to idle, but thankfully, due to numerous mentors, churches and others which are too multiple to list, this time is a journey that I can chronicle and share.

When asked to write my story, I would venture that it is not something I could do in a single article.  Speaking in generalities is often easiest, because the tale would be too long. As a woman, I will provide my experience of a woman staying in the homeless shelter. I would define it as “traumatic” and “abusive.”  In my opinion, and that of many I’ve spoken to, the women’s shelter is a place run with a “prison mentality,” where the abused became abusers, and are more than happy to let people die to hide their secrets.  Drugs are rampant, ensuring people remain addicted instead of finding a pathway to recovery. People who never chose to rise above ensure that others continue to fall. To be honest, animals are treated better than the homeless at the women’s shelter.  PETA would protest its conditions, but we are not dogs, so why are we being treated that way.  (Ok, now I know why I have to walk so much.  Maybe, I’ll get my leash next week).  So, get the lead out, literally. (Need I even mention the Lead problem?) 

Discrimination, deception and disease run amok; gang activity praised; and hopefully, in the near future, shank class. Food, we’ll just take it right out of the garbage can, but trust and believe the staff never miss a meal.  There are a few good people, workers, but apparently current trainers believe that integrity can be purchased or provided by a “certificate.”  ADA violations everywhere, but hey, it is just homeless people, so what does it matter.  Maybe, rename them homeless things. It’s worse elsewhere.

Perhaps, so far, you would think that I define homelessness as complaining, or to euphemize, venting, but it is about ensuring every voice is heard, and at times that voice may be harsh.  A lot of people may want to just have their five minutes of fame or just complain and never attempt any solutions. (Yup, never underestimate the power of…uh…complaining…and doing something about it!)

Thankfully, NEOCH helped provide more than just a building to cool down on a real hot August day, but also a place to laugh and learn since their outreach is extensive. But it does take effort on one’s part, even on days where people feel the tank is empty.

So, thank you Brian for your help and legacy, and as we transition forward, may you live long and prosper. Try to not to stay home too much, and always remember the importance of a Scooby Snack, but not the doggie kind, the kind meant for people. Sadly, I do need to specify.

Family Homelessness Crisis

by Vishal Reddy

“Mommy, where we at? The shelter again?”- Amaya, age 3.

Homelessness is not a solitary struggle. The reality is families comprise 41% of people experiencing homelessness.  A large majority of these families are headed by single mothers. Mothers and children are the fastest growing homeless demographic. In Cleveland, this crisis is growing, and it’s growing fast. NEOCH sought to explore the impact this crisis is having on Cleveland’s already precarious shelter system.

For a family, the path to access emergency housing in Cleveland is facilitated through Cuyahoga County’s Coordinated Intake office (run by Frontline). This one-stop-shop process is designed to direct families to need-appropriate resources within the community. Families are either placed into a shelter or “diverted.”  Diversion, a policy that NEOCH does not support, seeks to place families in non-shelter locations such as with friends or family. Only once they are in a shelter will a family be assigned a caseworker or be seen to determine whether they are eligible for the Rapid Re-housing program. Rapid Re-housing is the only county program available to move families out of the shelter system. Unfortunately, permanent supportive housing is not available to families because the federal funding for the Permanent Supportive Housing Project is reserved for single adults. This system of giving resources to families only once the family is placed in a shelter means their future is dependent on obtaining a spot in one of the city’s shelters. Families are thus beholden to the hope that these shelters aren’t at capacity.

 Hope doesn’t get them far though: family shelters in Cleveland have been at capacity for a while. When all the family shelters are full, families are sent to the overflow program at the City Mission, if they are not diverted. The City Mission family overflow program houses roughly 20 mothers and 30 children each night in their gym. The City Mission began the family overflow program last year in September 2016 because so many families were being turned away from the other family shelters. The overflow program was meant to be a temporary solution to the crisis afflicting families, giving the County time to come up with alternatives. But it, too, has quickly reached capacity, and there is still a lack of any concerted effort by the County to even acknowledge there is a family homelessness crisis.

What happens when the overflow shelter is at capacity? First, countless women and children must continue fending for themselves, having been told by both the shelters and the single overflow program that they are at capacity. Second, the lives of those in the shelter are even more strained than normal, since the shelters aren’t equipped to handle this many people. Those people in the overflow program can’t be connected to resources until they are officially in a shelter and they will wait for weeks in a gym before being placed in a shelter.

We talked to several families who are currently staying in the overflow shelter to learn more. Tierra, who became homeless after issues with her abusive boyfriend, told us her and her 3-year-old daughter's "daily routine." They leave City Mission gym before it closes at 7am, carrying all their belongings with them. Then, they get shuttled to Cosgrove Center where she must wait outside on the street with her 3-year-old child and belongings till it opens at 8 am. After eating breakfast and lunch there, they leave Cosgrove Center at its 2:30 closing time. Having nowhere to go at that point, she takes her child to the beach or the library till 7 pm when the City Mission opens again. Then, they lie down with countless other families on the gym floor of City Mission and attempts to sleep till the next morning.

In the absence of a stable shelter situation, families must expend a great deal of energy simply going from place to place. Any semblance of consistency or normalcy is gone. Under the strain, struggles compound and build on one another quickly. One mother, Simera, has been at the overflow in the City Mission for a month now. She has been struggling to obtain medicine for her months-old son who’s sick. Another mother, Joanna, laments the fact that her teenage son, Draymond, is unable to attend school. He's already missed the first few critical weeks of school who knows how many more he’ll miss this year?  The crisis and trauma of homelessness make it difficult for her to get her son back into the CMSD. What is a mom to do when she and her son are simply trying to survive?  

Also, the families who are in the overflow shelter have no assigned caseworker who monitors them and keeps them up to date on their status in regard to obtaining a permanent spot at a shelter. The lack of any transparent criteria or process for obtaining housing heightens this uncertainty. None of the families we spoke to knew what the criteria were/are to determine the order for families receiving shelter placements. Is it the number of children a mother has? Is it how long the family has been in the shelter? Is it the perceived likelihood the family will maintain housing? None of the families knew for certain.

In one year from September 2016 to August 2017, the family overflow program at the City Mission went from providing 71 nights of shelter for 23 women and 48 children to last month providing 1016 nights of shelter for 336 women and 680 children. That’s a 1400% increase in nights of shelter provided in one year. The county NEEDS to address this situation, and they NEED to address it FAST. There is a severe, growing crisis of family homelessness. Temporary bandaids like the City Mission’s emergency family overflow have quickly become permanent bandaids.

The county has proposed Rapid Re-Housing as THE solution to the crisis of family homelessness. However, this program is facing serious difficulties. Tenants are given only 30 days to find housing, rent is only guaranteed for 3 months, and some families are unable to pay rent after that period expires. Shelters are having difficulty finding landlords to take Rapid Re-housing tenants. As they’re in a difficult situation, risking possible eviction if there is no permanent income to pay the rent. We are now seeing cases where families are re-entering the shelter system after attempting Rapid Re-housing.

The options for homeless families have become extremely limited. Family homelessness is clearly increasing. Yet, the Office of Homeless Services claimed in a letter that “the number of families accessing emergency shelter through the Coordinated Entry System has been relatively the same over the past several years.”  NEOCH disagrees. We believe that we are in a crisis and other service providers agree. Something needs to be done.

The fact that a mother and her four-month old child need to sleep on a gym floor for a month before they have any access to shelter services is the heartbreaking reality.  Continued denial of this crisis is irresponsible and the lack of further solutions to address this community crisis will continue to hurt the women and children who need support in their time of crisis.