Obligatory LeBron James Post

This is a Getty imageThere is nothing else those of us living in Cleveland are talking about right now except the return of LeBron James to Cleveland.  We welcome him back and forgive the betrayal.  We will leave behind the talk about turning his back on his hometown and the burning of the #23 jersey.  All is forgiven and we look forward to a long and successful career in Cleveland.   How does LeBron James relate to homelessness for the purpose of this blog?   I was thinking how many LeBron James's are there sleeping in our shelters in Cleveland?  How many talented individuals never met their Coach Frankie Walker type mentor and got him on the straight and narrow?

For those who don't know the James family struggled with poverty and homelessness throughout his childhood in Akron.  His biological Dad was never in the picture and LeBron missed many months of elementary school.  One father figure who dated his Mom was sent to jail on fraud and drug charges.  He was picked up by his pee wee football coach in the fourth grade after Coach Walker found he was missing most of his fourth grade.   Walker and Gloria James, LeBron's mother, agreed that little LeBron would go stay with the coach. 

Gloria could not afford her housing and nearly lost it, but Walker stepped in to help with the rent and LeBron went back to living at home.  LeBron got a quality education at a Catholic School in Akron that stabilized his high school education even though his family was moving frequently in bad neighborhoods in Akron.   Walker introduced James to basketball and encouraged him to go to St. Vincent St. Mary's high school while keeping up his grades. How many guys at the shelter did not have a Coach Walker?  How many women at Norma Herr did not have an inspirational art or math teacher that redirected their life? How many Jim Carroll's, Bill Clintons or Tupac Shakur's are we missing--all grew up in poverty and did great things.

Imagine the scientists and scholars that we are losing as a society because talented people are languishing in the shelters or in dead in jobs?  Our society would have so many more LeBrons if we could stabilize people's housing situation.  If there was a right to live in an affordable, safe, private place we could take huge weights off our population to focus on discoveries, starting businesses, and programming computers.  LeBron made it out of the underside of Akron, but 2100 Lakeside is full of talented athletes, artists or archeologists who never found their Coach Walker.  They turn to alcohol, drugs or get in trouble with the law before finding a stable life.  Poverty and homelessness is sucking our society of great minds. 

Go Cavs, and Go LeBron!

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.

Long Time Friend Retires

Continue Life is a small shelter on the border of Cleveland and East Cleveland that serves young mothers.  They have always been one of the few facilities that has trained staff to serve pregnant women who happen to be homeless.  Their long time director, Balinda Cavor announced her retirement on September 10, 2012.   Ms. Cavor was always a good friend of the Coalition, and has collaborated on a number of projects over the years. 

Continue Life was a partner with Bridging the Gap, Community Voice Mail, the Street Card, and most importantly advocacy and policy work.  Continue Life is always willing to help on issues facing young mothers including welfare reform, HUD funding, and affordable housing issues.  Balinda worked for 22 years at Continue Life and has seen some tough times over those years.  She has kept her focus on helping young mothers as they struggle to find stable housing.

"Balinda has been an invaluable resource and an integral part of the organization.  She demonstrated her commitment, dedication and devotion to the mission of Continue Life over 22 years of service.  The Board members will deeply miss Balinda"     ---said Board President Kenyokee Crowell

Interim executive director, Fannie Johnson Baxter, will lead the organization during this transition.  She has worked as an adjunct professor at Cleveland State University as well as working at Applewood, Beech Brook, and YWCA.   Ms. Cavor has always been a strong advocate for her clients, which is one area we need more of in this community.  She was always willing to raise her voice to oppose policies or budget cuts that would have a negative impact on homeless moms.   NEOCH will also miss Ms. Cavor.

Brian Davis

Posts reflect the opinions of those who sign the entry.

WCPN Covers Homeless Issues

Yesterday, WCPN and the morning show, the Sound of Ideas, featured a discussion about homelessness or more specifically a look at Dan Kerr's book Derelict Paradise which traces the history of homelessness in Cleveland. We had a Street Voices speaker, Sheri West on who successfully transitioned from shelter back into housing in 2008 to 2009. An interview with Ms. West will be in the next Street Chronicle. I was also able to participate. Jeff Kaiser Executive Director of Haven of Rest in Akron participated by telephone.
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