Friday, September 08, 2006

County Helping Homeless to Vote

Shelters Now Active in Registration of Homeless People

NEOCH is often criticized for only giving the bad news. We also constantly harp on the lack of accountability within the system. I mean if a corporation had 10 straight years of losses it is unthinkable that the existing leadership would be able to keep their jobs. But in the social service community 10 years of increases in homelessness can be blamed on something else or just plain ignored. We have to go before our constituency every few weeks, so it is easy to see why we are impatient with the slow progress made in addressing poverty. But today we give you some good news undertaken by your government.

We must credit the great job that the County Office of Homeless Services has done in making sure that homeless people are registered to vote. It is funny that now that the state has put huge barriers in the way of homeless people voting is the time that the County steps up their efforts. We certainly appreciate their efforts and have asked for every provider be required to register people upon entry for years. We finally wrote a letter to the Commissioners late last year asking for some intervention in getting every homeless person to vote, and that seems to have happened.

The OHS staff are strongly encouraging every publicly funded facility to assure that they are registering people. They are collaborating with Ohio Votes to make sure that every staff person knows the rules and can encourage their clients to go vote. Each provider needed to put in a plan for how to register and get all their clients to vote. They are regularly updating the providers about new issues regarding voting. So, the Coalition thanks Cuyahoga County for helping to empower homeless people.

NEOCH is supporting this effort with two training sessions in collaboration with Ohio Votes coming up:
**Friday September 15, 2006 at 1:30 pm.
**Tuesday September 19, 2006 at 11:00 a.m.

Both will be at NEOCH and will last one hour. Please call if you would like to attend at 216/432-0540.

Brian Davis
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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