NEOCH Annual Meeting: RSVP Today

Remember to sign up today to attend the Annual Meeting for NEOCH.  We will give out the following awards:

  • Media Person of the Year
  • Volunteer of the Year Award
  • Advocate of the Year
  • Civil Rights Champion for 2016.

We will also release our annual report and release information on our Strategic Plan for 2017 to 2020.

Hope that you can make it.

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Annual Meeting Announced

All are welcome to join us at our Annual Meeting for 2016 on March 23, 2017 at NEOCH.  Since we are serving food, we do ask that you RSVP for the meeting.  This is the yearly chance to celebrate social justice in the area of homelessness.  We recognize individuals who have done all they can to forward the cause of ending homelessness in Greater Cleveland.  We give out awards for civil rights, social justice, media, and volunteer of the year.  We look back on 2016 and we will solicit your input on our strategic plan for 2017 to 2020.  We also will release our Annual Report for 2016.  Please feel free to join us. 

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Annual Report Posted

Check out what people are saying about NEOCH:

Shari: I like Street Voices because it dispels the stereotypes about what a homeless person looks like and makes people aware of homelessness.

Mike: I like the Chronicle because it helps people who need to make extra money or who are on disability make ends meet without having to panhandle.

Mike G: Coordination of Outreach has led to more professional workers making a difference to homeless population. Having Denise, Jim and Tyrone to contact on the streets is a big plus.

Joe: The Hand Up Gala was great.  I loved the meal and the fellowship.  And I liked being served by a Councilman.

Dee: I loved the donations of boots and the warm items for the winter.  It was a kind gesture.  It made me feel like I could make it through the winter.

Check out the full Annual Report on our website.  It has the list of board members and the financial overview for 2014 along with the award winners.

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Annual Meeting for 2014

NEOCH hosted our regular gathering of advocates as part of the agencies Annual Meeting for 2014 on April 1, 2015.  We gave out three awards this year to Beau Hill as the Social Service Advocate of the Year for 2014.  We have not given out this particular award since 2010.  We gave Demetrius Barnes, the Volunteer of the Year for 2014 and Norman Wolfe was awarded the Advocate of the Year.  We will have details of each in three separate posts.  We released our Annual Report or Community Benefit report and posted it on our website here.  Notice our attempt to stay relevant with modern Cleveland by utilizing "New Brown's Orange" as our color for this year.

Jennifer, the Board Treasurer provided an overview of some of our accomplishments from 2014 which are detailed in the Annual Report. We talked about the fantastic outreach coordination and the hiring of Denise and Tyrone, which has been a huge improvement in our outreach coordination for the agency.  We talked about the Socks Plus campaign and the huge number of donations that we gave out and continue to give out this winter/spring. I gave information about some of the projects we are working on for the next year. Larry did a really nice job in acting as the Master of Ceremony for the Annual Meeting. 

The highlight of the evening for the members who attended was the talk by Julian Rogers of Cleveland State University.  Rogers is a former County Council member and gave us a good summary of how we could improve our advocacy to be more effective.  He talked about:

  • Keep the campaigns simple (one to three items).  Everytime an elected official sees someone from NEOCH they should think about the advocacy campaign.
  • Get to know staff who might be willing to help.  Staff do so much of the work behind the scenes. 
  • Always look for opportunity to compromise.
  • Try partnering with diverse groups who might have similar interests but can strengthen your advocacy.
  • Make sure that the people affected by the issue take the lead in the advocacy.
  • Have a Plan B if your position is not getting much traction.
  • Have a good story about the dream that you want to see fulfilled and in the end this is what you want to see accomplished.
  • Open up the conversation to as many people as possible--don't focus on only one office or one elected office holder.
  • Try to move those who are reluctant to support your position.  How can we better position you for this particular issue or cause.
  • You must have data to support your position.
  • Highlight a specific issue that can be the focus of your campaign referenced turning the shelters into job centers.

The NEOCH Board elected new officers for the next year and thanked everyone for supporting the Coalition over the year. 

Brian Davis

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Annual Report Posted on the Website

We had a really nice Annual Meeting on Wednesday night with a full house of over 40 people.  We were proud to give lifetime achievements to Maria Smith and retired Councilman Jay Westbrook as the 2012 and 2013 Ione Biggs Social Justice Award winners. Both graciously tried to find others who deserved the award more than they did, but we finally convinced each to accept the award.  It was nice that both knew Ms. Biggs before she passed away. 

We had some good food (thanks Jennifer) and around 40 people attended the Annual Meeting.  We had a number of members of the Homeless Congress and a couple of our friends from the social service sector. We have posted the NEOCH Community Benefit Report on our website now which details the awards that we presented on Wednesday.  It also gives a brief look at our finances and a history of the last year for the organization.   We gave an award to Eileen Kelly as Advocate of the Year and Kimberly Fischer as the 2013 Volunteer of the Year.  We will have details posted about all of our award winners.  We have added our strategic plan for the next three years to the Community Benefit Report (Annual Report).  We are also working on a web page that will detail all of our award winners from the past.   It is an incredible group of people and we need to remember the great work of all these individuals.

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Annual Meeting Coming in March

Mark your calendar for the NEOCH Annual Meeting on March 19, 2014.  We will give out awards, and look back on the last year.   The most important part of the Annual Meeting is to talk about the future.  This is a critical time for people in poverty and homelessness.  NEOCH wants to be a leader in this struggle. 

We will have a light meal, but ask that you RSVP for the meeting.  We will present our annual report and hope to once again give out the Ione Biggs award. 

Brian Davis

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Organizational Highlights for 2012

2012 Organizational Highlights


  • NEOCH staff did a great deal work on national and local level regarding the dramatic changes taking place with regard to funding for shelters, and the federal cuts to housing and services.
  • NEOCH spent the summer and fall of 2012 working to register and then get homeless people to vote.  We worked with all the shelters and housing programs to register their constituents and then mobilize them to vote.  NEOCH staff registered 324 voters and 93% of those individuals took the time to cast a ballot—only 2 people voted on Election Day.
  • Staff held a leadership position with the National Coalition for the Homeless as chair the National Homeless Civil Rights Organizing Project.
  • As part of our Homeless Memorial Day and candlelight vigil, we read the names of 74 individuals who passed away in 2012 and had some experience with homelessness.

Public Education

  • The NEOCH published a new website with all new content ( in March 2012 and had 16,018 unique users in 2012.
  • The Housing Cleveland website which NEOCH co-administers has 28,150 apartment units (50% outside Cleveland) and 4,100 landlords listed on the site.  There were and 130,000 unique users in 2012 conducting almost 800,000 searches with 3,500 units added and 17,000 units modified on the site.
  • We sent staff and Street Voices speakers out to 7 presentations at churches, colleges, and schools in the region. In addition, we assisted with an event to recognize the life work of Jim Schlecht of Care Alliance outreach.
  • Staged the third Hand Up Gala to provide a four star meal to homeless people at the Cosgrove Center, and held a series of Fair Housing educational training sessions.
  • The Coalition assists with the monthly Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance monthly meetings and featured a forum on suburban affordable housing, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and two presentations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development on their strategic planning activities.

Cleveland Homeless Legal Assistance

  • Lawyers operated 11 different clinics and were able to see 300 clients in 2012.  
  • Lawyers collaborated with Legal Aid attorneys to staff a monthly pro se divorce clinic.

 Community Organizing

  • NEOCH organizes a monthly Homeless Congress meeting allowing homeless people to meet with elected officials and work on solutions to homelessness.  Some of the issues that they worked on in 2012 included diversion, shelter standards, expanding Medicaid, turning foreclosed houses over to homeless people, central intake and diversion.  Councilmen Dale Miller, Zach Reed, Dan Brady, State Rep. Nickie Antonio, and State Senator Nina Turner all met with the Congress in 2012.
  • Collected and distributed over 560 winter blankets in 2012.
  • Published three Street Newspapers providing $24,000 to low income individuals in Cleveland.
  • NEOCH helped to organize the 2012 Homeless Stand Down at the Masonic Auditorium serving nearly 800 homeless people with donations, haircuts, meals, and the important social service providers all in one location.

The complete 2012 Annual Report including finances and plans for 2013 is available on our website here

NEOCH Annual Meeting Looks Toward 2014

Photo by Norman WolfeAt the NEOCH Annual Meeting last week approximately 30 people attended to enjoy Interim Executive Director Gino Scarselli's home made lasagna.  We have to thank Ohio City Pasta foPhoto by Norman Wolfer donating the pasta for the Annual Meeting.  The NEOCH Board gave out awards which can be seen elsewhere on the blog. Gino also gave an overview of all the work we did in 2012, and the important role the Coalition has in the community.  Every 2013 Board member was present at the meeting and they selected new officers for 2013 to include:

  • Roy Love as the new President of the Agency
  • Brenda Gray is the new Vice President of the Agency
  • Norman Wolfe is the new Secretary for the Corporation and
  • Marcia Bufford is the new Treasurer for NEOCH.

We were fortunate to have a number of social service providers attend including some previous Social Justice Advocates of the Year including Jim Schlecht, Toni Johnson, and Michelle Russell were present.  It was great that five members of the Homeless Congress attended the Annual Meeting, and a few of our members came to the meeting.  All the current staff were present including William the Golden Voice of NEOCH, Gloria our early morning smiling personality, and Larry Davis gave his view of serving homeless people at NEOCH.  The main purpose was to lawyout plans for 2013.  Marcia Bufford (pictured above with Jennifer Kocan receiving her volunteer of the year award) who was the Board President at the beginning of the meeting,  laid out the plans for the next year and talked about the importance of NEOCH in the community. 

"In the face of many non-profit organizations going out of business over the last five years in Cleveland, our primary obligation will be to manage the organization through these tough economic times.  The Board has outlined goals to stabilize the organization, find the funding for an Executive Director, and expand membership to include additional religious organizations, and charitable groups to sustain NEOCH.  We want to work to find funding to sustain the critical programs we oversee including the Street Card, the Memorial Day, Stand Down, outreach collaborative, and Homeless Congress.  We intend to do a better job of publicizing the work of the Coalition and expanding the number of supporting members.

Our primary advocacy agenda item for the next year is to improve the shelters so that there is oversight and an effective grievance procedure.

  1. We also intend to work to improve access to the ballot box for homeless voters.
  2. NEOCH will work to expand access to the Housing website in Ohio.
  3. We will continue to educate the public about the myths associated with homelessness especially through social media.
  4. NEOCH will continue to forward solutions to homelessness including the creation of a missing person’s database, a virtual furniture donation website, and an urban homesteading program"

Brian Davis

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Award Winners for 2012

Photo by Norman Wolfe

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless held its annual meeting for 2012 this week.  It is a time to reflect on the past and look forward.  The Board sets an agenda for 2013 and elects a new group of officers.  The most important thing that we do is give out awards to people who have gone above and beyond to serve homeless people over the last year or provided a lifetime of service to the community. 

This year we recognized Senator Nina Turner as the advocate of the year.  Senator Turner helped poor people to vote by proposing legislation, demonstrating and assisting with lawsuits. She argued repeatedly that Ohioan need to vote on the weekend, and homeless people took advantage of the early voting in huge numbers.   She reallly went out of her way to protect access to the ballot box and for that reason we presented her as the 2012 Advocate of the Year.   Senator Turner could not attend because she was in a hearing in Columbus, but her father, Tallib Ilaahee, attended in her place.  He gave a brief inspirational speech about the value of voting to Cleveland (pictured above is Ilaahee and Board President Marcia Bufford).

Jeff Bricker formerly of North Point Transitional Shelter (pictured below) accepted the award as a Champion of Homeless Voting as did Shindana Frazier of the Salvation Army Railton House.  The staffs of these two facilities were acknowledged for their work.  We have a seperate entry about these folks.

Jennifer Kocan won the Volunteer of the Year award for her taking on the Interim Executive Director position while the organization reorganizes.  Jennifer worked to find funding and finding additional support in the community for the organization.  She worked to keep the organization functioning through the economic downturn. 

Grace Gamble, a high school student at Beaumont High School received our first Student Volunteer of the Year award for all her work on the 2012 Hands Up Gala. 

Finally, we recognized Larry Davis for his eight years of service to the Coalition including as a VISTA and a member of the Mature Services Senior re-training program. 

We have posted our Annual Report on our website here...

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the release.