National Groups Cold Response to Loss of Funding

NCH Board/staff meet with HUD officialsHere is the take from the National Alliance to End Homelessness on the recently announced HUD funding cuts. NAEH has sadly turned into the leading public relations firm for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

"Overall, more people will be housed instead of homeless due to these results. More new projects than usual got funding, and more existing projects than usual lost funding. As a group, the newly funded projects will house more people than the projects that lost funding, because of more focus on exactly that outcome – housing people. The wellbeing of homeless people and the desire to solve the problem of homelessness are driving this change."

In Cleveland, we unexpectedly lost Y-Haven serving 113 people two weeks ago.  We have heard a great deal of anger around the country from groups in Indiana, Florida, Baltimore, Mississippi, and Mesa ArizonaNew York City has been overwhelmed with family homelessness leading to record numbers, but they were cut.  Honolulu declared a "state of emergency," but they were not immune to the cuts for those with a disability.  This was the result of HUD prioritizing housing over transitional shelters.  It is the opinion of the "experts" that transitional housing programs screen out too many homeless people and they take too long to place people into housing.  This is another step toward HUD funding exclusively housing programs while no other federal agency (Health and Human Services) picks up the slack to fund the emergency of being homeless in America.  It is cold comfort to the man who loses housing on the rainy streets of Cleveland that they are stuffed into a church on a mat on the floor because the transitional shelter beds have lost funding. 

We found out the Y-Haven will be able to survive the loss of federal funding.  They are moving to Medicaid funding and have received a lot of support from admirers since the story appeared in the Plain Dealer.  The director has assured advocates and Cuyahoga County that the program will survive after the ADAMHS Board, YMCA, and other local groups have stepped up to help.   The reason that they were cut was that they honestly completed their application claiming that the shelter focused on recovery so had a screening process for those who are working on alcohol and drug issues.  This eliminated some of the homeless population from entering and HUD objected to this screening tool or degree of specialization.  The Salvation Army PASS program is the last standing in Cuyahoga County to receive federal dollars.  We hope that they are preparing for a 2017 budget cut.  

The statement from the National Alliance was heartless and misguided.  There was this loud cry from the field from around the Country asking, "Why did HUD cut our local homeless programs?"  NAEH shot back don't worry the new funding will help more people in the local community.  It was like a federal agency commenting on the impacts of global warming on cities which will most likely flood, "Don't worry, we have planes ready to transport your most vulnerable to Omaha or Topeka."   Thanks, but that is not what we need.  HUD funded rapid rehousing programs which give short term rental assistance and intake centers throughout the country instead of existing transitional programs.  The disabled guy in a wheel chair with a criminal background needs a place to sleep tonight not after a couple of weeks of paperwork, finding a landlord and hoping that accept a voucher for only three months guaranteed rent.  Yes, you will serve more people, but not with the type of service that the local community needs.  The family with two young children or the youth who is couch surfing every night needs a bed to sleep in tonight not a promise for rental assistance in three weeks. 

Yes, there was more competition for the limited dollars, because once again our Congress is not doing its job. They are creating more problems then they are solving.  They delay, deny and put demands on the local community that is only exacerbating the problems of poverty.  In the past, communities had to pit shelters, services and housing programs against each other locally to receive their full allocation.  They ranked the programs and those at the bottom were lost.  Communities got smart and figured out how to play this game, and so now programs were forced to compete against programs at the national level with this horrible tiered funding system.   It certainly does not promote cooperation or solving homelessness as a community.  It promotes distrust and local programs distorting their programs to meet national goals while dismissing local priorities.  It does not matter that Cleveland is seeing opiate deaths or more people released from prison who cannot go back to their houses and need more time to find stable places to live.  We have to skip the shelters and move people into housing.  It does not matter that our family and women's shelter are seeing huge numbers, HUD and their public relations firm NAEH know best. 

The homeless veterans programs have made tremendous progress over the last five years by doing exactly the opposite of how HUD is working on addressing homelessness. 

Brian Davis

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Y-Haven And CPT Team Up Again

Prove Yourself Press Release from Cleveland Public Theatre

Cleveland Public Theatre and Y-Haven present Prove Yourself, created and performed by the residents of Y-Haven, a branch of the Greater Cleveland YMCA. A thirteen-year partnership between the two organizations, the project introduces theatre arts to homeless men recovering from addictions. As they work with CPT artists to create an original performance based on their personal experiences, participants develop skills and capacities that support sobriety and transition to employment, permanent housing, and independent living. Prove Yourself was developed under the guidance of CPT Teaching Artists Adam Seeholzer and Darius Stubbs, with set and costumes by Inda Blatch-Geib.

A consistent audience favorite, the CPT/Y-Haven Theatre Project offers candid insight into important issues of our society and gives real hope for growth and change. Audiences are deeply moved by the poignant stories presented in this powerful collaboration.

About the play: Larry just wants to see his son. But the court, his ex-wife and the boy’s new father keep getting in his way. Driven by his troubled past, Larry’s mission is to see his son, no matter the cost. As he struggles to overcome every obstacle, Larry may be forgetting the largest obstacle of all: himself. Prove Yourself is a riveting story about parenthood and the challenges people face when coming to terms with themselves, their past mistakes and their dreams for the future.

Y-Haven Artists: Willie Brown Jr., Russell Byrd, Shawn Chandler, Robert Dawson, David Falkenstein, Chris Griffin, David Harton Jr., Marlon Hibler, Harold Hightower, Mika Knezovic, David Kwasniewski, Joseph Menefee, Creshawn Smith, and Willie Richard

CPT Artists: Adam Seeholzer and Darius Stubbs with costumes and set by Inda Blatch-Geib.

Tuesday, November 13 at 7pm
The Breen Center for the Performing Arts at Saint Ignatius High School
2008 West 30th Street at Lorain Ave.
Free, donations accepted

Wednesday, November 14 at 7pm
OLA/St. Joseph Center
2346 W. 14th St. Cleveland, OH
Admission with non-perishable food item

Thursday, November 15 at 7pm
On Stage In River - Rocky River Public Library’s Performing Arts Series
@ Rocky River Senior Center
21014 Hilliard Blvd. Rocky River, OH
Seating is limited - come early

For more information on the Free Performances of Prove Yourself at Cleveland Public Theatre or on the Free Tour Performances in the Community visit or call CPT Education Director Chris Seibert (216) 631-2727 x 201.