OCHA is the Ohio Coalition of Homeless Advocates and we meet periodically in Columbus to discuss issues that might be important to the other cities. Typically, we have Dayton, Appalachia, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Toledo represented. Here are a few updates from the meeting this week.
The Anna Louise Inn Shelter has been fighting to expand and was delivered a set back on Friday in their dispute with Western and Southern Financial Services. Anna Louise Inn is a battered women's shelter and home for recovering prostitutes, and has a desperate need to expand after a century of service. After being in the same location for over 100 years, the place needs renovation and expansion. The Union Bethel parent non-profit had raised the $12.4 million for the renovation and the City of Cincinnati had approved the expansion. Western and Southern sued to stop the expansion, and proposed buying the facility. For some reason the judge remanded the City to start the rezoning process over on the renovation. Staff at Union Bethel have committed to continue the struggle. They are convinced that this will take place, but it will just take longer.
The Cincinnati Coalition published a report on the State of Family Homelessness in Cincinnati. All the stats and recommendation can be found here.
The City is struggling with diversion issues and central intake for single adults. They have moved to only allowing people into the single adult shelters exclusively by phone. The Faith Mission had been the central intake site, but found it too difficult to oversee. Now, if you want shelter in Columbus, you have to call a number similar to 211 and they will direct you to a shelter. This is a new system, but it is presenting some challenges for those who do not have access to a phone. Diversion has been in place for a couple of years, and has raised some concerns by the advocates.
We have to congratulate Care Alliance in Cuyahoga County for receiving a national award to improve their clinics. This $5.5 million in federal health care support will improve the Public Housing clinics that the agency administers. They are going to begin a $3 million capital campaign to complete the renovations. Care Alliance is the Health Care for the Homeless in Cleveland. They have a beautiful facility over on St. Clair with amazing dental facilities. We rely on their help with homeless outreach, because they can send medical personel out to help people. Care Alliance has done an amazing rebound since the days when they were shedding their programs and closing down outreach in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The current director, Francis and Linda before him have really moved the organization to a solid foundation. This is great for Cleveland, and we hope that it will help them to be ready for the huge changes taking place in 2014 with the national health care reform.
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