Many Updates in Our Research/Statistics Section

As the graphs suggest, the total percentage of population living in poverty did decrease in 2014 in both the state of Ohio and in Cuyahoga County. There is also a consistent decrease in the number of estimated homeless people at a state and a county level-from 23,512 individuals to 21,512 in the county (a percent change of -7%). At a state level, a decrease from 148,250 individuals in 2013 to approximately 109,649 individuals in 2014 (a percent change of -26%).

It’s not surprising that the number of homeless individuals has decreased, as we based our calculations off of both the total population and the % of that total population living in poverty, and both numbers have decreased (reflecting overall trends in census data in the Northeast Ohio region). What remains an interesting finding in the state level data in regards to % of those living in poverty and estimated homeless individuals in 2008 and 2009, is that it does not reflect the trends we saw in Cuyahoga County. This could be explained by many factors, most significantly perhaps, the housing crisis that hit Cuyahoga County especially hard: see this link here for more information on foreclosures compared to other counties in the state of Ohio.

Although the data suggests that things are getting better, it’s important to recognize that the percentage of individuals living in poverty remains consistently higher in Cuyahoga County compared to the rest of the state. It is imperative that we identify how we can best break the cycle of poverty before it continues to cause homelessness in our community. Prevention is key, and we must continue to work together with advocates, business owners, nonprofits and community stakeholders to address homelessness in Cuyahoga County. 21,512 is far too many individuals to be without stable and decent shelter in our community. You can see the 2014 data that this analysis is based off of here.

Links to Overall Poverty/Homelessness Data for all Previous Years is Below:

Project Act in CMSD School’s: Measuring Progress

Project Act is a program for homeless children through CMSD to address children who are experiencing homelessness, staying in emergency shelters, staying with friends or family because of the loss of housing or due to economic hardship (Project Act). This program offers direct instructional support as well as access to support programs-this year alone, 2,646 children are experiencing homelessness.

A large part of this initiative is measuring just how many children are experiencing these unstable housing situations or homelessness in the district, and what those children who are experiencing homelessness look like. This year the program found that over 2,646 children in our community are experiencing these conditions. Although, a significant reduction from 4,048 the approximate number of children experiencing the same conditions during the 2014-2015 year (1402 less individuals experiencing homelessness or similar unstable situations). This is a percent change of -34.63%, which is an encouraging statistic, although all is well when you really analyze the data and find the disparities of those who are experiencing childhood homelessness or other strained housing situations.

What we found in this year’s data:

It is concerning that 13.8% of the population experiencing these conditions are five or under. Even more horrifying is the disparity that exists among racial lines within the district. With 83.4% of the population experiencing these conditions being African American-while just 6.5% are white children, which happens to be the second largest group represented in the total 2,646 number. If you look at the numbers by Homeless Codes, you will see that by far the largest group represented are children who are doubled-up with friends or family-representing approximately 67.6% of living situations that these children are experiencing. The second largest represented category are children living in homeless shelters, or 20.6% of the measured total population.

Last year’s data:

As mentioned previously, the total population of children experiencing some form of homelessness during last year was 4,048. Children under the age of five, represented 13.4% of the total population of children experiencing homelessness. African American children still represented the largest population represented, at 81.4% of the measured population, white children still comprised the second largest part of the population at 8.8%. When we analyze the data by homeless codes, we see that 70% of the children experiencing homelessness were doubled up followed by 16% of the population in homeless shelters.

Measuring Progress or lack thereof?

Although, there was an overall reduction in the number of youth and children experiencing homelessness reported in the 2015-2016 year, it is important to note that disparities continued to grow within the youth population experiencing homelessness. Younger children still continue to experience the highest levels of homelessness, and African American youth are still disproportionately impacted by housing instability. To see the numbers for yourself, you can follow this link for this year’s numbers and learn more about the Project Act Program here. Just as it is important to not recognize changes and decreases in the data as actual progress, it is paramount that we keep a critical eye on the above figures, and continue to work towards an overall reduction in homelessness.

by Katy Carpenter

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New Ohio Rankings on Website

Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has some new information on our website.  This could be helpful for your senior high school reports or college essays about homelessness.  Some very interesting statistics on Ohio and how it ranks in several different areas compared to the other states.  It’s a report card that shows the weaknesses and strengths on some crucial subjects that make a difference for those who live in Ohio.

How much do you know about Ohio?  You will be surprised at some of the statistics an intern named Megan at NEOCH found out about Ohio and compiled so we can quickly see where Ohio ranks next to the other states in categories like Housing, Population and Demographics, Homelessness and Poverty, Economics, Health and Welfare and Crime. 

How many percent of registered voters actually turned out to vote in Ohio?  Where does Ohio rank among 50 states in reducing homelessness?  Is Ohio’s rate of population growth closer to the top or bottom of the scale when compared to 50 other states?  Which state has the highest poverty rate in the nation and how close is Ohio to it?  Where did Ohio rank in its number of murders, robberies and rapes?  Is it possible that Ohio is 7th from the worst state in any of those three violent crime categories? All of these stats are found on our site with an easy to read graphically enhanced webpage.   We encourage you to check out our new section and read some statistics that paint a graphic picture of Ohio and it’s standing amongst the states.  

The site evaluates the state’s performance and growth by showing how Ohio stacks up against its peers.  It even shows the quality of life and life expectancy for the state for the nearly 12 million residents of Ohio.  How long can you expect to live when you reside in the state of Ohio? Check out these very informative statistics to find out.  It’s a very eye opening picture of the state of Ohio and where it falls in categories that are compared across the board for every state in the union.

by Denise Toth

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Ohio Rankings on the Site

  Over the last four weeks I have been compiling data about Ohio and how it ranks among the other states.  I must admit, when I started this project it was tedious and mostly consisted of number crunching and html conversion.  However, the more time I spent with the data, the more meaning it took on.  It began to tell me a story about Ohio, a story I would like to share with you.

   The purpose of my data collection was to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding poverty and homelessness.  Furthermore my intent was to use and share this data to generate solutions for poverty and homelessness.  The data I collected was categorized under five major headings; Population & Demographics, Economics, Housing, Families & Homelessness, Health & Welfare and Crime & Criminal Justice

   Throughout my research of Ohio, I encountered some data that was consistent with my expectations, and other data that completely surprised me.  Overall what seemed most notable about Ohio was that it was very rarely ranked in the top or bottom five states, but it was consistently ranked far below average in almost every area effecting poverty.  To me this data suggests that issues effecting poverty and homelessness are not even on the radar of state and local politicians and that oversight of social service providers is lacking.

   The data I collected confirmed my previously held belief that the factors that contribute to homelessness and poverty are intricate and complex.  While there is no single cause of poverty in Ohio, I was able to identify several prominent contributing factors.  These factors include; lack of higher education, lack of employment, racial and socio-economic discrimination, lack of effective social service structures, lack of public resources and lack of public responsibility.   Each of these contributing factors separately is a complex problem, yet together they create a seemingly unbreakable cycle of homelessness and poverty that seems impossible to improve. Without a thorough overhauling of all existing public infrastructures, it is difficult for me to imagine an end to poverty and homelessness.

  Some of the most surprising data I found that pointed to lack of higher education was that Ohio ranks very high for K-12 education, 16th in the nation.  Yet conversely Ohio ranks 39th in the nation for the overall attainment of Bachelors degrees, 40th in the nation for college debt and 39th in the nation for women with 4 or more years of college education.  This indicates a major disconnect between public education and higher education, suggesting that either not enough of it is provided, people are leaving Ohio to receive a higher education and not returning, or higher education is not accessible or affordable.

  The data suggesting severe unemployment problems in Ohio was surprising as well.  Ohio’s population growth is incredibly low and is ranked 44th in the nation, while Ohio still ranks 32nd in the nation for job growth.  Ohio’s workforce is ranked 47th in the nation.  This data suggests that even though businesses are in need of workers, they are still not creating new jobs.

     Even though Ohio ranks very poorly when compared to other states in poverty and homelessness, higher education, unemployment, personal income growth, crimes involving theft, overall heath and keeping people from losing their housing, these issues are not at the forefront of the political arena or even talked about by the media.  It certainly points to neglect in many different areas.  This clearly is a problem that needs extreme talent, creativity, innovation and cooperation to be solved.  It cannot be solved by any one person.  All of us as Ohioans need to come together as a community and take responsibility for our struggling citizens and hold our political leaders and social service providers accountable to begin to solve problems in our society. 

by Megan Bonem

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First Call For Help Adds Statistics to Website


From the First Call For Help Dashboard website June 2015

This is really helpful to see trends in the community.  2-1-1/First Call for Help has introduced a "dashboard" to show up to date statistics about people calling for help.  This is typically inside baseball behind the scenes stuff, but it is very helpful to show where there are holes in our social safety net.  We have collected updated stats here and we have a blog that we put interesting graphs that we find regarding poverty and homelessness.   Housing is always high on any of the lists from First Call For Help.

New 2-1-1 Community Dashboard
Thanks to a generous grant from the CareSource Foundation, and in partnership with RTM Designs, United Way 2-1-1 created a dashboard for the community to monitor real-time 2‑1‑1 trends. By visiting you can view counts of needs and trends for various age demographics and topics, including housing, food and behavioral health. The grant provides all 2‑1‑1 centers in Ohio who utilize ReferNet, the opportunity to create local dashboards based on the Cleveland model at no cost to them. This is a work in progress, and we're looking forward to the next version, which will include unmet needs and outcome data.

Really nice upgrade.

Brian Davis

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Posted Statistics on those Using the Shelters in Cleveland

We have put together a page detailing the shelter population in Cuyahoga County over the last five years.  We have an easy to print out version that you can distribute.  Every person who comes in the door gets entered into the HMIS computer database kept by the county.  We can trust these are very good numbers and provides an accurate look at the population of shelter users in Cleveland. 







Number Served at Coordinated Intake






Number Served in Emergency Shelter and Transitional Shelters






Singles (# of Persons)






Families (# of Households)






Newly Homeless


















 These stats come from the Cuyahoga County Office of Homeless Services

Brian Davis

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Housing NOW at 25 years

Thanks to the National Coalition for the Homeless for the photoThe National Coalition for the Homeless and the Center for Community Change hosted a 25th Anniversary celebration of the Housing NOW march in Washington DC.  Jerry Jones, Executive Director of the National Coalition for the Homeless moderated the event and gave some reflections about his experiences.  Panalists included Shelia Crowley of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Peter Edelman a professor at Georgetown Law School and previous staff in the Clinton administration, Mary Lassen of the Center for Community Change, and T. Sanders a Speakers' Bureau member for NCH.   Donna Brazile a political commentator set the tone for remembering the day at the beginning of the event and NCH Board President and ED of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, John Parvensky closed the ceremony with his reflections. 

There were between 75,000 to 150,000 people who came from all over the United States to protest the growing homeless population.  Michael Stoops of NCH and Mitch Snyder of CCNV in DC organized the march which featured celebrities such as Coretta Scott King, labor leaders, and religious leaders on hand to protest the growing number of families falling into homelessness and the lack of a federal response.  The panelists on Monday October 27, talked about the development of HOPE VI legislation to rebuild public housing as well as the affordable housing HOME program that were expanded after the March in 1989. There were local attention toward homelessness and federal dollars going into addressing the problem in the nation's capital.  Ms. Sanders put a face on the problem by showing how a family deals with homelessness 25 years later.Peter Edelman talked about one-third of the population are living near poverty and the impact that has on our society.  He went through the laundry list of problems associated with mass incarceration, the lack of funding for education system in America, and the changes in family structure. Edelman wanted to make it clear that we are doing better in addressing poverty since the War on Poverty started during the Johnson administration (22% were living in poverty in 1961 and 11.3% living in poverty today).   But over the last 25 years, we really had not made much progress because we have not had the political will to address the problem. 

It made me reflect on how things had changed over the last twenty-five years.  I was volunteering for the Homeless Grapevine 20 years ago, and things are much different.  I looked at the stats from back then and there were between 3,500 to 5,000 homeless people in Cleveland.  The Coalition was started back in 1987 after advocates started seeing more and more families showing up asking for help.  There was not the infrastructure to serve families and no one in the community wanted to see a bunch of kids who had become homeless.  The school district had around 100 to 200 families that had become homeless and church leaders were worried.  The Mayor's office did not have a response, but were concerned about the growing number of homeless people.  There was discussion of opening the basements of government buildings (including the lobby of the Justice Center) for the winter.  Today, we have 9,000 unique individuals using the shelters and the school district had nearly 4,000 families during the last school year.  We have overflowing shelters nearly every night.  We estimate around 22,000 homeless people last year and there were over 500 families who asked for shelter last year. There are substantially more homeless people in Cleveland and in most cities in the United States since the march in 1989.

Families are trying to find a space during the day for their kids in Cleveland.  Politicians at the state, federal and local level rarely talk about homelessness even when asked at debates.  There is no plan for how to end homelessness for everyone.  We have focused resources on veterans and those who were homeless a long period of time, while single women and family homelessness has grown.  We have certain populations pitted against each other for limited funding.  We have 60,000 people locally in need of some assistance with their rent, and a shredding of the social safety net in the United States.  We don't have the kind of help we had in the past for those facing eviction and homelessness.  Cleveland still has a commitment to providing shelter to everyone who comes to the door, but that now involves mats on the floors of churches even for families.  Most other cities in the United States turn people away when the shelters are full.  Advocates marched on Washington 25 years ago to demand action on a national housing plan and homelessness has only grown across America.  Presidential candidates no longer talk about homelessness and Mayors do not campaign on how they will solve the problem.  They have to deal with all the issues that come because we have a segment of the population living on the streets or in shelter.  No one is talking about solving the problem.  No one is demanding immediate action.  Even with all these vacant homes, we are not looking at a five or ten or twenty year end to homelessness.  It seems that it is time for another march on Washington to revive the push to end homelessness in America. 

Brian Davis

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Added A Few Stats to the Website

We have posted the 2013 statistics from the shelters.  These statistics show 8,300 people used the shelters in 2013 (Oct. 2012 to September 2013).   There were 6,000 single adults and 646 families who used the shelters in Cuyahoga County.   The average stay in an emergency shelter for a single adult is 18 days and for a family nearly 60 days.   69% of the shelter population leave the emergency shelter with some income (including non-cash income).   While only 15% of the single adults leaving the shelter have earned income.   Single individuals leave the shelter with 67% of the population go to a permanent destination. It is interesting that about 45% of the sheltered homeless have not experienced homelessness in the past. 

Some of the statistics that we did not include are the first quarter stats for the shelters from October to December 2013.  The most frightening stat was that the emergency shelters operated at 120% of their capacity for single adults.  This means for most of the first part of the winter, we were operating overflow beds in the community.  Average stays for singles but has decreased in the first quarter, but the family population number of days spent in the shelters has increased.  These numbers do not give the definitive number of homeless people, but they give a good idea on trends and some demographic information.

We also updated the poorest city list for poverty in the United States. We have the top 100 poorest cities according to the US Census from 2012.  It is interesting seeing how some of the largest cities in the United States either have a large number of super rich people to offset the number of poverty people or are doing a good job in keeping down poverty.  It is interesting to see how many of the Midwestern cities are stuggling with poverty in the United States. 

Remember, that you can follow us on Twitter.  We are up to 25 followers.  We are clevhomeless on Twitter.  Gino is regularly updating our twitter feed.



Brian Davis

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New Almanac of Family Homelessness Published

We received a beautiful and comprehensive American Almanac of Family Homelessness published by the Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness

This is a huge book in the style of a coffee table book from the 1970s.  Every page has some wonderful charts or graphs. For policy wonks this book is not to miss.  There is a page dedicated to each state with statistics on the major cities within those states.  These stats are based on flawed Annual counts, which dramatically undercounts families.  (We will print in the next Street Newspaper).  The annual count gives a good overview of homelessness demographics and can provide some interesting comparisons.  They are not accurate, but they are interesting comparisons.  For example, there is no way that there are more families in Hamilton County then there are in Cuyahoga County, but that is what the stats say. This is a reflection of the number of shelter beds counted in Cincinnati compared to Cleveland, but it has no greater meaning. Not all of our family shelters report their numbers while every shelter reports in Hamilton County.

The other nice aspect of this Almanac is that they go through issues that are impacting family homelessness in America.   They discuss causes of family homelessness, foreclosures, and family homeless sub populations.  They go into great detail about the unfortunate destruction of transitional shelters in America.  They look at homeless youth, Head Start, Food stamps, and Social Security Disability.   The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness looks at minorities and homelessness, those who live in rural communities, and federal aid for homeless students.  You can read the almanac directly from their website, but it does not do it justice until you see it.  I would recommend policy agencies purchasing a copy of the book.  

The final section has a brief look at positive programs that are making a difference in the United States to improve the lives of homeless families.  There are no programs mentioned in Ohio which is unfortunate, but there are some interesting ideas.  There are some clunkers in the list like the Denver Donation Meter Program which we are never big on programs that single out one population (panhandlers) for shame and derision.  While others seem interesting like the Minneapolis Family Housing Fund that has built 26,000 units of affordable housing or the Chicago Hopes program to engage homeless children in enrichment activities while in the shelters. 

Brian Davis

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