Local News: Homeless People Need a Voice in Community

Marcia Bufford Now Healing at Home

   Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Board Vice President, Marcia Bufford, moved back to her house after two months of care by Metro Health. She made what doctors have described as “a remarkable recovery” and in July was discharged to complete her recovery at home.  Bufford is in the care of seven of her friends who take turns staying with her while she relearns to talk and move after being shot in the face.  The Plain Dealer, WEWS TV, and the Call and Post have all featured stories and interviews with Bufford. 

Shelter Funding Process Still Excludes Homeless

   The Men’s Resident Council at 2100 Lakeside shelter invited representatives of the County and City to their monthly meeting to explain the funding decisions made for the shelters.  They were especially concerned about the small amount of money given to 2100 Lakeside in the federal Continuum of Care and the repeated issues with a lack of funds to purchase food at the shelter.  Ruth Gillett, of the County Office of Homeless Services, and Bill Resseger of the City of Cleveland Community Development Department attended the Resident Council.  They did provide an overview of where all the money to run the shelters came from, and why the emergency shelter was not eligible for certain funding streams.  The men at the shelter were still puzzled at the end of the meeting about why currently homeless people did not have any input into the distribution of resources in the community.

Care Alliance Opens News Clinic

 The Care Alliance (healthcare for the homeless program) opened their new

clinic at 1530 St. Clair Ave. in downtown Cleveland.  This is a huge improvement with a facility built specifically for exam rooms and medical needs of the population.  They have running water in all the exam rooms and doubled the number of dental exam rooms.  They have consolidated all their staff and administrative functions into one building, and provided a beautiful waiting room to those experiencing homelessness.  This facility has a nice facade and a number of warm offices for counseling.  The ribbon cutting was early in July 2006.

CWS Forges New Relationship with NEOCH       

   The Community Women’s Shelter announced the hiring of David Titus as the new Director of the entry shelter for women and children in Cuyahoga County.  Titus has a background in serving those with a mental illness, and has overseen the administration of the Hill House shelter.  Relations with the Coalition for the Homeless have improved over the last year, and staff are planning to meet with the residents for the first time in nearly two years during the summer of 2006.

Local Organizations Work to Re-Enfranchise Ohio’s Homeless Voters

   With the sizable obstacles to registration and voting approved by the state of Ohio in 2006, social service providers are still planning to help homeless people to participate in democracy.  The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio has started a group called Ohio Votes to assist in registering very low income individuals.  Joselyn Travis, formerly of the NAACP and Cleveland Project Vote, is running the statewide project.  The Office of Homeless Services in Cuyahoga has made voter registration a part of every shelter’s application for federal funding.  The shelters are asked to put in place a plan to get all of their clients registered.

   The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless continues to work to register people, and will partner with a few of the drop-in centers to demonstrate the new electronic voting booths.  It is hoped that homeless people will practice and become comfortable with the new system for casting a ballot.  All the providers are struggling with the new identification requirements.  There are alternatives to the state ID, but those all pertain to the housed.  West Side Catholic has provided staff to resurrect the local identification project that provides funds for individuals to get a State ID or birth certificate.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio Issue 77 August 2006