The Latest Dispatch from the Homeless Coalition
Annual Meeting of the Coalition
We normally have a stuffy formal annual meeting, but this year the Board of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless has decided the annual fundraiser from the Annual Meeting. So the 2006 Annual Meeting will be March 15, 2007 at Franklin Circle Church at 6 p.m. NEOCH will give out awards to the Advocate of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. We look at 2006 and ahead to 2007. Finally, NEOCH will elect a new board and present the 2006 Annual Report. We would love to have you join us for the Annual Meeting. It is free and we hope homeless people will be able to join the meeting. We are going to award a Roadblock of the Year to the person or organization that prevented the solving of homelessness in Northeast Ohio.
Media Wave Causes Stir
The Plain Dealer story two weeks ago with the headline about $22 million coming to Cleveland for homelessness always creates waves. It makes our meetings with homeless people difficult, because homeless people read the paper. They see a whole bunch of money coming to Cleveland and wonder why they eat pasta every night or why they cannot get housing. So, we get blamed for wasting funds or being incompetent for not solving homelessness with "all that money." We also get calls asking how they can set up a shelter so that they can get in on this federal gravy train. After I tried to convince the woman that called this week that this was not money for shelters and that public officials are not going to fund shelters anymore, she said, "I am not going to be deterred by anything you say, because God has told me to do this and I saw the article about the $22 million." There is no way to argue with God or money. Columbus only got $6 million, and they claim nearly the same number of homeless people, and so their providers are ticked off.
By dividing $22 million among the 20,000 people who are homeless every year, the funds only cover $1,100 per person who is homeless in Cleveland. 90% of the $22 million are just to keep the doors of the transitional shelters and the permanent housing programs open. Many of these funds are for very specific populations while the economically homeless have to find their own ways.
Aviation High School Has a Deadline
The main shelter in Cleveland, 2100 Lakeside, operates on the principle that anyone who comes to the door must be offered a bed. This has forced the shelter to operate an overflow facility at Aviation High School. This was a temporary solution that is now three years old. The federal government is not really happy with this solution with ex-cons, sexually based offenders, and an unknown group of people basically sleeping on the grounds of an airport. They have laid down the law--the overflow must close by November and there will be no further argument. This would seem to be plenty of time, but the County and City cannot agree and no one is talking to homeless people. This is going to go down to the wire, and the results are not going to be pretty.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.