2015-2016 Facts Supporting the Housing Crisis that Exists


in Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland

Cleveland and Cuyahoga need more affordable housing.


Cleveland and Cuyahoga need more affordable housing has a shrinking number of shelters and was declared the most distressed city in the United States. 

  • The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports in 2015 that housing is becoming more “Out of Reach” for residents of Cuyahoga County. In 2015, they estimated that a single individual must make $14.69 per hour for 40 hours a week in order to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment.
  • NEOCH estimates that 55,000 people were in need of subsidized affordable housing in Greater Cleveland in 2015 based on the waiting lists for a voucher in Cuyahoga Co.
  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors reported in 2014 that there was a 6% increase in homelessness in Cleveland, an overwhelming amount of these people were families. Family homelessness increased by 14%, compared to 1.5% for individuals. According to the report, Cleveland did not turn away anyone requesting shelter, but nationally 22% of all shelter requests go unmet because of a lack of resources.
  • According to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, nearly 23,200 people were homeless in Cuyahoga County in 2014, and there were 4,200 people homeless every night in the county (using the Department of Education definition of homelessness). There are 2,000 people sleeping in a shelter bed every night in Cleveland.
  • Nowhere in the United States does welfare or disability assistance provide enough income for an individual to afford an apartment at the fair market rent.
  • In Cuyahoga County, according to the recent census, 58.8% of the approximately 214,212 rental households pay more than 30% of their monthly income on rent, and 31.3% pay more than half of their monthly income on rent. These households are in danger of becoming homeless.
  • According to the 2014 census, 35.4% of the people in Cleveland are living in poverty.
  • The City of Cleveland Housing Court processed 10,856 new evictions in 2014, the majority of which are for non-payment of rent. In 2014, there were 21,014 new evictions filed in Cuyahoga County.
  • According to Ohio Policy Matters, the foreclosure rate on houses decreased by 18% during 2014 in the State of Ohio. However, Ohio’s foreclosure rate is still high due to the instability in the housing market.
  • The Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority reports 20,000 people currently on the waiting list for housing. They also report that the last time the voucher program was opened in 2015, 54,000 unduplicated households claimed eligibility and tried to gain access to the waiting list of 10,000 names drawn.
  • United Way’s First Call for Help reported a record 215,000 calls in 2015, and an additional 200,000 using the website.  Housing is the second highest request for service every year behind food.
  • Every shelter in Cleveland is full every night. The men’s shelters have had to operate three overflow facilities of over 400 beds during the 2015 winter.  The Women’s Shelter is operating at 115% of capacity every night with 30 to 60 women sleeping on mats on the floor. We now operate only one women’s shelter for women without children.
  • All of the emergency and transitional shelters in Cleveland surveyed in 2014 report turning away no one.  There were 8,892 unduplicated individuals who used the shelters in Cleveland in 2014 according to the Office of Homeless Services.  We have reduced the number of shelter beds in Cuyahoga County every year for the last four years. We operated overflow for families and men for 8 months out of the year in 2014.
  • 44% of the Emergency Shelter population are between 31 and 50 years old and 29% of the family shelters are between 1 and 5 years old.  69% of the emergency shelter population are African American in Cleveland according to the County Office of Homeless Services.
  • In 2016, Cuyahoga County has done a great job in reducing veteran’s homelessness with only 260 homeless vets left without a housing plan. The goal is to focus on keeping veterans in housing and not losing the progress developed over the last five years.
  • The US InterAgency Council on Homelessness estimate that mortality rates are 4 to 9 times higher among homeless people when compared to the general public.
  • The Cleveland Metropolitan School District reported 4,048 kids identified as homeless in the 2014 to 2015 school year.  This is a new record up from 1,026 in 2000 while the population of the school district overall is down 26% in that time.  

Updated 2/26/2016