Interesting Story from the Postcard Campaign

We have been placing these post cards around town to raise awareness and dispel some of the myths about homelessness.   Nearly all of the photos on the front were by photographer David Hagan who did portraits of homeless people back in 2004.  I have heard some interesting comments back from the distribution of these postcards.  First, after only a decade, many of the people on the front have died.  Four out of the twelve on the front have passed away, which shows how difficult homelessness can be on a person's health.   We know that at least one person fell back into homelessness from the front after years of being housed. 

One individual from the front took a number of the postcards home on the RTA.  "L" really liked the post card and was reading it on the bus.  A woman said, "Hey, can I see that post card."  L said, "Do you recognize anyone on the post card," thinking she would recognize him.  She said, "Yes, I am on the post card."  It turns out she was one of the young kids on the postcard now in her 20s ten years later.  L was blown away that there were two people on the bus who had been part of the 2004-2005 photo exhibit. 

Post cards are available at the NEOCH offices and we hope to drop them around town. 

Brian Davis

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Postcard Published to Dispel the Myths About Homelessness

Norman and his Public Relations committee of NEOCH decided that we needed more attention to homelessness and the work of the Coalition.  They worked with Brent, one of the best graphic artists in the community, to put together the above postcard.   We used David Hagan's portraits of homeless people from the 2005 show that he did.  He took beautiful portraits of homeless people and we had a show with their images.  He gave each participant a framed portrait that they could hang when they got stable in their housing.  Remember, the majority of homeless people are without housing for less than 30 days.  

Anyway, Randall from the NEOCH Board convinced Jakprints to print the postcard, and we are now distributing them around town.  We hope to raise awareness of the work of the Coalition by directing people to our website. We also hope to change the impression that homelessness is not just the guy sleeping outside on the steam grates.  There are elderly, young moms, veterans, children, and all different races of people who have become homeless.  You are welcome to pick some up at the office or we can send them out to you. 

Brian Davis

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NEOCH Work in 2013

Advocacy

  • NEOCH staff worked with other groups to push an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio attending rallies, writing letters and writing editorials to assure that most of our constituents had access to health care.
  • NEOCH was able to successfully settle our lawsuit over voter ID with the State of Ohio to extend it until after the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Held 12 meetings of homeless people to talk about solutions to homelessness. This included meetings with the Cleveland City Council, County Council and State Representatives.  We also held a meeting with the Cleveland Police after the shooting death of two homeless people in East Cleveland in late 2012. We focused on shelter budget cuts and the impact of Sequestration locally on poor people.
  • Worked to improve the conditions in the shelters including improved access to grievances and a posting of the rules for operating a shelter in a public venue.

Public Education

  • As part of our Homeless Memorial Day and candlelight vigil, we read the names of 54 individuals who passed away in 2013 and had some experience with homelessness.
  • Brought attention to the religious community the need for overflow shelters for families because of the dramatic increase this summer in the family homelessness in Cleveland.
  • The Housing Cleveland website which NEOCH co-administers has 27,803 apartment units (49% outside Cleveland) and 4,800 landlords listed on the site.  There were and 157,000 unique users in 2013 conducting almost 773,000 searches with 4,300 units added and 75,800 units modified on the site.
  • We sent staff and Street Voices speakers out to 18 presentations at churches, colleges, and schools in the region. We trained a new class of speakers including two high school students who were homeless. 
  • We found funding for uniforms for the vendors of the Street Newspaper to stabilize this program in which homeless people can write uncensored stories about their issues and sell those words on the streets of Cleveland.  We published four issues in 2013.
  • The Coalition assists with the monthly Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance monthly meetings and featured Ed Rybka and Anthony Brancatelli, CMHA, the director of the State Coalition, and federal elected officials.
  • We hosted a series of affordable housing forums teaching over 150 people about HousingCleveland, Fair Housing, Landlord Tenant issues, veterans homelessness, and permanent supportive housing.

Community Organizing

  • NEOCH organizes a monthly Homeless Congress meeting allowing homeless people to meet with elected officials and work on solutions to homelessness. 
  • Collected and distributed over toys and blankets during the winter season.
  • Published four Street Newspapers providing $28,000 to low income individuals in Cleveland.
  • NEOCH helped to organize the 2013 Homeless Stand Down at the Cleveland Convention Center serving nearly 1,200 homeless people with donations, haircuts, meals, and the important social service providers all in one location.  Co-organized the Hand Up Gala dinner for homeless people for the fourth year providing 230 meals to the hungry.  We are working to organize the women staying at the main women’s shelter in Cleveland.

We also assisted with the Homeless Legal Assistance program with 10 legal clinics in the shelters, but we do not have the numbers on how many people we were able to serve in this program.

Brian Davis

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Join Us At NEOCH

Veterans and Veteran's Administration Staff at the 2012 Homeless Memorial Day

For the past 27 years NEOCH has published a Homeless Street Card.  We have organized the Homeless Memorial Day and read the largest number of names in our history.  We helped with the Homeless Stand Down, coordinating outreach, and placing volunteer attorneys at the shelters.  We need your help right now to join the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.  We have sent you a piece of mail with an envelope to return to NEOCH or you can donate directly on our website here.  The 2013 membership campaign is underway.  Please join us as we fight to prevent homelessness for the growing number women and children by making a tax deductible donation during this critical time.

 

NEOCH membership matters!  You will have access to the special section of our website.  You will get a periodic advocacy newsletter from the Coalition, and you will be invited to special events such as volunteering at the Gala or the Homeless Memorial Day.  We depend on your support to show politicians and bureaucrats that we have the support of hundreds of people in the community.  Also, 10% of our budget comes from our membership.  We need your help today!!

 

If you appreciate the work we did registering people to vote, we need your support for our membership. If you enjoyed all the information that we posted this year on our website including the complete redesign of the site, we need your support on our membership campaign.  If you used the HousingCleveland.org website that we help market and maintain, then we need your support.  If you think that it is important for homeless people to have access to legal advice, then we need you to support our membership.  Donate today to take advantage of the tax benefits for 2012, and your membership will last through 2013.  

 

Brian Davis

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