CLEVELAND HOMELESS: A YEAR IN REVIEW 2015
The big change from 2015 in homelessness was that Central Intake was moved from the shelters to an independent location at the Cosgrove Center. This was a big step forward so that individuals can get access to services without having to go to the shelters. Shelters don't always have the best reputation and many individuals do not want to go to the shelters. This was helpful to the population and made it easy to direct people to shelter. Later in September, the Coordinated Intake site suddenly closed on the weekend which made it difficult for families to find a place to sleep on the weekend.
We had a large number of women showing up asking for shelter and the County and the local shelter providers continued to stuff women into an overcrowded shelter. The Women’s Shelter is packed and the County has a rule of not turning anyone away. This has resulted in people sleeping in the kitchen, basement and laundry room. There was some media attention but no plans to open additional beds. We saw more people on the streets despite the HUD report in January on one of the coldest nights of the year that the number of homeless people had declined again. We saw more people sleeping outside downtown in our count in November and we had the second highest number of deaths in the 28 year history of Memorial Days.
Family homelessness is at record highs with longer stays in shelter. We are not doing a very good job keeping families together and struggled all year with no shelter for pregnant women since Continue Life closed in summer of 2014. Families are struggling with how to get shelter and not be “diverted” back to inappropriate or unsafe housing in these interviews at Coordinated Intake. The County is committed to offering three months of rental assistance to families (Rapid Rehousing) over creating new shelter beds for the many families asking for help.
The lottery opened for the Housing Choice Voucher program with only 50,000 attempting to get a spot on the waiting list (down from 64,000 in 2011). Only 10,000 names were drawn and so far 50% of the people who had their names drawn were not eligible due to income or criminal background. We had some extreme weather in January and had nearly two months of the cold weather shelter open every night of the year. This was the first year in six that we have not seen the opening of a new permanent supportive housing building because of the lawsuit that delayed the opening of the facility at West 83rd and Detroit.
We published one of the best Homeless Street Card ever printed by Hot Cards, and all of the versions of our Street Cards are updated and on our website. Cuyahoga County received the same funding as we did in 2014 in federal support which resulted in a cut in staffing because everything else in the world increased in expenses except the funds for shelters. There were no issues between law enforcement and homeless people and we had a series of meetings between police and outreach workers to keep the lines of communication open. NEOCH is back in court over the new State voting restrictions on how to count provisional ballots in Ohio.
Sr. Donna was a part of the Coalition at its founding in 1987 and she passed away in 2015.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded to Cuyahoga County $25,342,376.00 in funding for homelessness and housing.
Jim Schlecht of Care Alliance has dedicated his life to homeless people and was featured in a video on the NEOCH website.
Interfaith Hospitality Network stopped involving church groups in the operation of their shelter. They merged with New Life Community to become Family Promise and now moved away from the religious community support.
The Community West Foundation staff has focused some funding on what they are calling the "Socks Plus" campaign to raise support for socks and boots for homeless people who spend a great deal of time outdoors.
The County is the caretaker of much of the assistance for homeless people in Cuyahoga County.
The Homeless Congress made recommendations regarding the reform of the Cleveland Police including the need for a liaison to work with homeless people.
The Street Chronicle Volume 22 Number 1 was published with pictures from the Stand Down, the Homeless Memorial Day and the Hand Up Gala.
Tyrone is the first graduate of the Community West Foundation funded program to expand outreach locally and we posted a video of him on the website.
The April CAHA meeting featured Bill Faith of COHHIO, the state housing coalition to talk about advocacy and the state budget.
Cuyahoga County needs an interactive missing person database.
Voting lawsuit settled by ACLU does not help the homeless in Ohio. /cleveland-homeless-blog/2015/4/18/voting-lawsuit-settlement-will-not-help-homeless-people.html
NEOCH employee featured on WCPN program “Cleveland Tough”.
Care Alliance provides free and low-cost health care to Central area residents and opened a new clinic in the Central neighborhood.
Three Service awards presented at NEOCH Annual Meeting.
Two benefit shows were staged in April to support the Cleveland Street Chronicle.
Marian Wright Edelman of the Children Defense Network was a speaker at The City Club.
NEOCH published a commentary asking, "What will it take for Cleveland Police Department to regain the public’s trust?"
Cleveland VA close to ending veteran homeless by pouring huge resources into solving the problem.
Councilwoman Yvonne Conwell speaker at tension-filled Homeless Congress meeting.
A victory for housing advocates in the Federal Budget.
New 2-1-1 Community Dashboard shows up-to-date client call for help demographics.
House Bill 149 would make housing discrimination legal.
WCPN hosted a discussion about homeless youth in Cleveland.
Homeless people need help in the summer months also.
Celebrating 25 years of American with Disabilities Act in the United States.
NEOCH and the Homeless Congress filed over 43 complaints in one week against women’s shelter.
Where does Ohio rank among 50 states in reducing homelessness?
We celebrated 10 years of HousingCleveland.org. operating in Cleveland.
Louis Stokes, a champion of affordable housing, passes.
UH Humphrey Gallery hosts portraits of homeless men who live at 2100 Lakeside and they are posted next to this story.
County Council meeting to discuss the women’s homeless shelter excluded women who live at the shelter.
We posted a commentary about the death of the transitional shelter in Cleveland.
Discriminatory voting laws disproportionately affect low-income people and minority voters.
For homeless families, quick exit from shelters is only a temporary fix according to a story on NPR.
NEOCH’s Board of Trustees asks Cuyahoga County to suspend all diversion activities for families with children seeking shelter.
Congresswoman Marcia Fudge asked that the Department of Justice to investigate voting practices in Ohio.
The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board of Trustees voted to endorse Issue #1 on the ballot in November 2015.
There are serious problems at the Women’s Shelter that needs to be resolved and the Congress has made recommendations.
FrontLine Services closed Central Intake on the weekend suddenly.
New issue of The Street Chronicle features stories about Cleveland’s homeless shelters.
Councilwoman Conwell two-sentence response to Homeless Congress’s concerns about women’s shelter.
NEOCH staff published a commentary about fair housing rules be displayed in homeless shelters?
Victims of domestic violence need help with parking passes for court dates which we discovered was available at the Family Justice Center.
We published some scary Halloween-like stories about homelessness in Cleveland.
Thank You to Hot Cards for printing the current edition of The Street Card.
Staff published a commentary asking, "Does Frontline Services use protection of the clients as a sword against exposure instead of as a shield to assist clients?"
Dana Irribarren, Executive Director and founder of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, passes.
Cleveland will be losing 82 beds of transitional shelter and that elimination of the transitional shelters in America equals a huge loss for Cuyahoga County.
Updated list of the school liaisons for each of Cuyahoga County’s Public School Districtsfor 2015-2016 and posted on NEOCH’s website.
For the last two years, HUD’s count showing declining numbers of homeless people has taken place during the coldest weeks in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic states.
Councilman Zack Reed attended and addressed Homeless Congress to hear concerns about the shelters.
The ID Crisis Collaborative’s member agencies and churches will be able to help about 9,000 people to get about 14,000 documents thanks to funding from the county.
The 15th Annual Woodchopper’s Ball to took place December 12 at The Kent Stage.
Carl Cook and The Labre Project honored at St Ignatius event.
The Homeless Memorial Day was held at St. Malachi and the names of those who passed away was posted on the website.
NEOCH started its membership campaign in December and posted the new County Discharge from shelter procedure.
by Joyce Robinson and Brian Davis
Posts reflect the opinion of thse who sign the entry.