Thursday, May 31, 2007

Emerald Commons Ribbon Cutting

Who is Paying for All this Supportive Housing?

In the Sunday Plain Dealer, Joe Frolik, did a nice overview of supportive housing and the new Emerald Commons Project. Then yesterday, WCPN, did one hour on the supportive housing fad that is sweeping the country. We have talked about these projects in the past, and disclosed the reservations that we have for supportive housing. Today, is the ribbon cutting for the Emerald Commons project.

Don't get me wrong...These are great projects and anyone would love to live in one of these buildings. In fact, every homeless person should have access to these kind of buildings. What never gets discussed is where is all this money coming from? Dan Malthroup tried to get to this discussion when he talked about the value of the $9 million that went into the Emerald Commons project on WCPN. Unfortunately, this he did not dig deep enough on this issue. The champions of these programs keep telling the public that supportive housing saves money, but they never answer the question, "Are those systems that are seeing savings, paying for these programs?" We heard over and over that these projects save health care costs, criminal justice costs and alcohol treatment costs, but are any of these systems paying for these buildings? No, the Cleveland Clinic did not contribute, nor did the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections and the Alcohol and Drug Board is not giving money to these projects. So, if they are saving all this money why aren't they paying the costs for the building?

Who is paying for these services and the building's capital costs? Money directed at poor people and homeless people are the individuals paying for these projects. By their own admission, the long term homeless (the only people who have access to these buildings) make up 10-15% of the total homeless population, so why are we paying the majority of the budget for these projects? Why is 30% of the homeless dollars in our community going to these projects when these groups only make up 10-15% of the total homeless population? How many family vouchers (40% of the homeless population) would $9 million pay for? How many in-patient recovery beds for the addicted (60% of the homeless population) could we buy with this money? How many vouchers with case management could we buy for those with a mental illness (32% of the homeless population)? My concern is that no one is making strategic economic decisions with the homeless money we get, and no one is talking about how we are going to fund the supportive services for these buildings in the long run.

The other big issue that the champions try to put forward is that the long term homeless use 60-80% of the resources so if we can free up these resources then we have more money for families, mentally ill, and alcohol and drug treatment. First of all I don't believe these statistics are universal for every city. Secondly, the problem with this theory is that the only way this logic works is if you solve long term homelessness, but no one is planning on solving this problem. We heard that Columbus is doing 500 units over 7 years, and Cleveland is doing 1,000 units over 7-10 years. This is not going to solve the problem and during that time another 5,000 more long term homeless will ask for help along with all the other homeless people who knock on the front door of our shelters. So, you will not close one shelter bed and demand will still be the same as before one of these units opened. There will still be the same number or more of those experiencing homelessness who sleep outside and the same number or more in shelters after all these millions are spent on supportive housing locally. Also, while not solving the problem, we are actually creating other populations like families who will be long term homeless because all the resources are used for the disabled.

It is similar to a giant vat dropping Skittles at a rate of 10,000 per year or over 800 rainbow colored Skittles per month into your bedroom. You cannot use your bedroom while 800 Skittles keep dropping on you as you sleep, so you decide to pick up the Skittles that have been on your floor the longest. You spend 30% of your monthly income on a box to hold your Skittles that you clean up. You pick up 1,000 Skittles or 143 Skittles a month out of your bedroom over seven years during which time another 70,000 Skittles dropped from the inappropriately located vat in your bedroom. Would you notice a difference between the 70,000 rainbow colored Skittles if you did nothing or the 69,000 Skittles left after spending time and 30% of your income every month for seven years trying to clean up your bedroom? You would have one really nice box of Skittles on your desk, but not much else. It is a silly example, but so is supportive housing championed as a solution to homelessness. Either get rid of the vat that keeps dropping Skittles or clean up all the Skittles as they fall or your efforts will never be noticed by the community. At the end of the seven years and the millions spent, the public is going to be ticked off that there is no visible change in the landscape except these very expensive Skittle boxes.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One Strange Speaking Engagement

The Most Bizarre Street Voices Presentation

The contact, a social worker for a special care center for elderly, mentally ill individuals gathered residents, telling them a meeting on housing was about to take place. Housing? On the phone she asked me to bring her a motivational speaker. Immediately, I told her that Street Voices doesn’t primarily cover housing. She continued to collect an audience, telling me something like “Okay, but people will come if I tell them the presentation is on housing.”

So, when the audience was gathered, I did my spiel. My colleagues and I gave some information about housing, and I explained that we were there to talk about homelessness. I introduced our speaker who had previous experience with homelessness. I explained that after the speaker tells their story, there would be time for questions and comments.

The format of the presentation became a dialogue instead; between the speaker and the audience. This only happened because the social worker interjected to explain what addiction is to the speaker and my colleagues, as well as other information known to people familiar with social services and homelessness. She did this repeatedly.

The speaker continued his dialogue with the audience, primarily about a triangle concept used in Narcotics Anonymous. There were other interruptions; residents, announcements made frequently by a harsh loudspeaker, and an electric screwdriver, all echoing in the small space. I understand this could not be helped, and do not fault the social worker, but it did contribute to the haphazard atmosphere.

At the end of the dialogue an individual asked if we were going to talk about housing. The social worker was absent, and I explained that we had been invited to talk about life experience with homelessness, not housing. I felt ridiculous, like I was tattle-taling on a forty-eight year old woman. Then, while the speaker finished talking with an audience member the social worker asked me why our group from NEOCH felt uncomfortable with the audience. Honestly, I told we were not. Soon after, she thanked me for coming, and told me about some of the difficulties she experiences. We then left.

“She’s playing with people’s lives” was the opinion of the speaker. Here is what I wanted to ask:

Why should her clients trust her when she lies about the subject of a simple hour-long presentation? What does she expect people to think when she tells them to bring her a motivational speaker and supposes indirectly that they’ll either pull together a housing presentation or ignore the falsity she’s told the audience?

I can understand desperation, and the devotion to getting inspiration and resources for your clients. However, this woman is a professional. Too bad she didn’t act like one. If she’s like this with other organizations, what hope do her clients have? Tainted odds with obtaining outside support, compared to those with truthful, trustworthy social workers.

Emily Kiefer
Street Voices

If you would like to have a Street Voices Presentation for your group or religious organization please give Emily a call at 216/432-0540 or you can fill out a request from the website.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Violence Against Homeless People

Are We Ready for a Dangerous Summer Part II?

We posted a concern on Saturday about the murder using a gun that happened on Friday night near the Bishop Cosgrove Center might be a hate crime. We were relieved to find out this was not a hate crime. Henry Casey was killed because of his association with the wrong people in the community. We actually had a lot of contact with Mr. Casey over the last three years. He was one of the individuals who filed a complaint against the state last year because he could not vote because he did not have identification. His girlfriend did a lot of work for us in 2004 signing homeless people up to vote in the Presidential election. Mr. Casey also was a valuable source for what is going on in the East 18th St. neighborhood with regard to homeless people and relations between police and those who choose not to use the shelters. His girlfriend and friends want a memorial session, which we will help to organize. His family is from Arkansas, and will be burying Mr. Casey in Little Rock, but his Cleveland friends want to say "goodbye".

As the Plain Dealer reported today, we have witnessed a string of attacks on people experiencing homelessness in Cleveland. NEOCH sounded the alarm on Monday after the third documented attack in less than a month with three people ending up in the hospital. Care Alliance had two other attacks that they were aware of in the same neighborhood from February and March 2007. This is a sharp increase since the last attack we documented in Cleveland was October and December 2005 and those both were on Public Square. We are worried that these might be connected or might be gang related since they are all in the same area and all involve young white kids. I hope that the attention given by WKSU, WKYC TV3 and WJW Fox8 along with the Plain Dealer will make people more aware of a problem and will keep homeless people safe. Also, we would love to see the dog, Train, returned to the couple who lost their encampment and their puppies after losing their housing last year.

For those who are wondering..."Why would anyone sleep outside, when we have so many shelters and services in the community?"...there are many reasons. There are those who do not like the rules or have an addiction that they cannot kick even for the night. There are those who do not want to accept charity from anyone. There are those who are married without children or just a couple and do not want to break up. Finally, there are those with animals that they cannot part with and so stay outside or abandoned buildings. NEOCH estimates that there are as many people sleeping outside or abandoned buildings as there are in the shelters every night.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Follow Up on Homeless Stories

Does That Happen Here?

On Sunday, 60 Minutes (which oddly only has 42 minutes of content) aired a segment on the dumping of homeless people from hospitals in Los Angeles. The premiere news magazine in the United States had guest correspondent Anderson Cooper spending time on Skid Row to find out the extent of the problem. It was amazing to see the number of the homeless people in the homeless capital of the United States compared to Cleveland. LA has four times as many people homeless every night as we have in the entire year, and a sizable number are concentrated in this one neighborhood of LA.

I was asked at least three times this week if this happens in Cleveland? Yes, but no where to the extent it happens in other cities. MetroHealth moves people as fast as they can and there is a long wait sometimes in the emergency room, but I have not seen them improperly discharging people to the streets. I am not sure that we all realize what a gem MetroHealth Hospital is for our community. The other hospitals need some work. I recently met with St. Vincent about this and other issues. So, give them credit for trying to work on the problem. They have done some work to try to build relationships with the current homeless social service providers. The other hospitals seem to do everything they can to avoid providing care to poor people and then have no problem "relocating" people to the shelters. It does not happen everyday, but there is a problem. Neighbors wonder how a King from Jordan travels 2,500 miles to go to the hospital here in Cleveland, while the Fairfax resident cannot walk around the corner and get access to health care.

Every few days we see people arrive with bandages that need changed or colostomy bags or prescriptions that cannot be filled. There is this slow dribble out of the hospitals into our shelters with open wounds or follow up services needed. We only have 9 respite beds located in Cleveland and those are for men. We have only sporadic nursing care within the shelters, and we now see regular ambulance runs from our shelters back to the hospitals. We have many who are not sick enough for hospital beds, but too severe for the shelters. Few want to be confined to a nursing home, and so they are stuck in limbo. The economics are that the hospital saving money by discharging a homeless person for a broken leg is wasted when they show up a week later with an infection and an improperly healed leg. Cleveland has a growing problem with hospital dumping, but certainly a solvable problem.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Violence Increasing Against Homeless

Are We Looking at a Rough Summer?

Over the last two weeks, NEOCH has seen a rise in hate crimes directed at homeless people. A guy was beat up outside of Franklin Circle and wound up in the hospital. His attackers targeted him because he was homeless and an "easy" target. Then a couple were attacked when they were sleeping off the beaten path near the Flats. The group that attacked the couple first wanted to buy the couple's dog, when the couple refused they came back and beat up the man and stole the dog. The homeless man sleeping in the Flats was hit over the head, and the woman broke her collar bone. The worst part of this is that the police were called three times and never came. Then the group came back the next night with a larger crew and again attacked the homeless couple.

There was another incident that we did not get to interview the victim, because he had relocated by the time we got the story. Then on Friday night a guy was shot in the head near the Cosgrove Center and two of the largest shelters in our city. Media reports have suggested that the victim may have been homeless. This is highly unusual since most homeless people do not carry around a gun so it is unlikely to be homeless on homeless violence. Before doing any investigation, we at the Coalition are afraid that this either a hate crime or has something to do with the drug trade downtown. We will look into this further and see if any homeless people know any details.

We are also working on a "Be Safe" flyer to alert those who stay outside of the rise in attacks. We are also looking into cell phones in order for our constituents to reach the police. We don't want to frighten people, but if there are people going out to attack vulnerable people we need to make people aware. Attacks rise when young people are out of school, and get bored. If we are already seeing a rise before school is even over, we are going to have a very bad summer here in Cleveland.

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Blogger Cleans Up River

River Sweep Visits Living Rooms of Homeless People?

Last week at the NEOCH staff meeting, our Executive Director passed out an attractive flyer encouraging staff and VISTA members to participate in the Homeless Blog on our web site. Because the flyer did not use Times New Roman font, I obliged.

On May 12, my cousin and I met a group of folks outside the West Side Market Café to participate in the 2007 River Sweep Event, which organizes volunteers in different neighborhoods to go out and pick up garbage. After suiting up with garbage bags, gloves, a t-shirt featuring frogs and instructions not to poke ourselves with hypodermic needles, we were off to perform community service and clean up the riverside.

Initially, I felt good about cleaning up the environment, until our clean-up crew happened upon a homeless camp. Then I felt invasive. There appeared to be at least two or three people who called this area home and slept under the bridge where our well-intentioned crew diligently cleaned. The individuals did not store many belongings there; visible items were cardboard beds, hotel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, a toothbrush and two washrags hanging from a branch. My cousin and I also identified an area where two strategically placed wooden stumps may have been the sparse furnishings of a living room.

The residents weren’t the best housekeepers, and were not “home.” Volunteers threw away a fair share of glass bottles and other miscellaneous materials. I don’t know when the homeless individuals returned that evening if they were pleasantly surprised that someone had tidied up while they were out, or if we deemed their treasures as our trash and swept their belongings to the recycle bin?

This event could be another way to educate environmentalists about homelessness by distributing educational materials or hosting a Street Voices Speaker at Nautica Entertainment Complex where more than 100 volunteers gathered for a free lunch after the clean up.

Valerie McCoy


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

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Disability and Long Term Homeless

Two Interesting Stories About Poverty

Marcia Bufford Update
In case you missed it Andrea Simakis had a very good story/summary/update on how Marcia Bufford has fared since the shooting in 2006 that appeared in yesterday's Plain Dealer. We had regular blog updates last year about Bufford here and here and here. I really like Andrea's writing, and she weaves a very good story with her profile of Marcia. Anyway, Marcia has struggled with poverty, and the inability to find a job that does not require her to be on her feet. She has struggled paying her bills and complete her school. She has had a real hard time with her recovery, and thanks only to the kindness of strangers was she able to walk in her own graduation Saturday. She appeared on Channel 3 on Tuesday night, and then Friday was in the Plain Dealer. Marcia is still a member of the NEOCH Board of Trustees, and helps out whenever she can.

The most amazing part of this story is that Marcia Bufford has a bullet lodged at the base of her skull and the State of Ohio has determined that she is not disabled. How can you get shot in the face and walk with a cane and yet not be disabled? The system for determining disability is broken and needs to be fixed. They seem to turn everyone down and force them to hire an attorney to get the scraps offered to disabled people in America. It is a disgrace to treat fragile populations like this, and make them grovel for a small check that does not cover fair market rent anywhere in the country.

Update: There was an article in the Akron Beacon Journal about the need for more judges to look at all the backlog on cases last week. I missed it, but here is the link.

The Bush's Car Salesman Speaks
This morning on Weekend Edition with Scott Simon, he interviewed Phillip Mangano who heads up the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness. Mangano is the snake oil salesman for the Bush administration--putting a positive face on domestic policy toward homeless people. He sounds so sincere and so determined, but it is a house of cards. As I have said before, there is no way to address homelessness in America while cutting funds to Public Housing and the Housing Choice Voucher program. It is fake to push these 10 year plans while making families, youth and the unemployed the next long term homeless in America with budget cuts to the housing programs. These guys will all be long gone when the cities discover these 10 year plans don't work and have not solved homelessness. How about we solve homelessness for everyone living in the United States instead of pitting one population against another?

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

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Brainwashing the Re-Entry Crowd

Homeless Services Meeting

I attended the Office of Homeless Services Advisory meeting. Don't worry you didn't miss anything...It is one of the worst named groups in the City, because they do not give advice to anyone. The one bright spot was that an actual homeless person was selected to this discussion group. No progress on ending homelessness, but the County Office of Re-Entry was introduced and their new staff gave a presentation. This is a very good idea that the staff of the Office of Homeless Services were instrumental in starting. Everything is going along well with their presentation until they threw in this phrase "cognitive restructuring." This is the euphemism that the Re-Entry crowd is using to tell employers and potential landlords that they are transforming these guys into productive members of society, but it sounded so Guantanamo-Nazi- creepy in a U.S. Department of Justice way.

Every time the staff of the new office used those words I got lost in thought trying to think what "cognitive restructuring" exactly means. Was this a shock treatment? Was it one of those movies with half second images and the person is seated with his eyelids forced open? Was it spending the entire day reading "Cathy" the cartoon and "Hints from Heloise" all day until the individual breaks from reality? Then I am thinking shouldn't we have had this cognitive restructuring before the guy went to jail? If we invested more in the children couldn't we have saved a lot of the incarceration money? Then I am sitting there thinking about the HBO series "OZ" and how the hell does a person get cognitive restructured after fending off murders, rapists, and white supremacists? Then the meeting ended.

Sr. Donna Hawk finally spoke up asking the presenters to stop using these words. Office of Re-Entry is a great idea--the language they are using is very bad.

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

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mayor Jackson Speaks

Homelessness: Do We Have the Will to End it?

We had a great fund raiser at Massimo da Milano on Friday night. I think that it was the best event of the last six years. We had a great street poet who stole the show. He was living in an abandoned house, but worked every day. He said that he was angry when he wrote the poem about how people act around poor people. The poem will appear in the next Homeless Grapevine, and the poet got to sit at the table with the Mayor for the evening. George Lockhart III said that he was angry and sent in a poem, and then he is eating dinner with the Mayor. The photo exhibit was great with every one of the images sold at the auction. Three out of the four photographers were present at the event. This was part of a disability grant to teach homeless people photography and then have their work displayed and sold.

The keynote speaker of "Partnering to End Homelessness" was Mayor Frank G. Jackson. He actually talked for longer than I have heard in the past. He gave a good overview of poverty in the city referencing some of the surprising statistics with regard to homelessness. The Mayor mentioned the 35 to 40% of the population who work, and the fact that one third of the homeless children in Ohio come from the Cleveland Municipal School District. He talked about the reality that 72% of the homeless population are African American. After setting the table for the crowd, he presented the appetizer with the statement, "There is a lot of money in misery in Cleveland."

The main course for the evening was Frank asking the crowd if there was the will out there to end homelessness? He told us that he was absolutely sure that we had the ability to solve homelessness. Mayor Jackson went through all the great services, programs and opportunities that exist, but he was not sure that we had the will. His focus over the next few years for addressing the problem will be in three areas: housing and the preservation of housing, employment and jobs, and his most important priority--education. Jackson talked about each of these priorities and the places that he plans to spend his time. It is a tall order, but we have someone heading up the ship who is at least talking about the issues (a big change from the past).


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

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Few Quick Notes

Why Don't We Ever Talk About Homeless Animals???

There is some real passion for animal shelters and the animal protective league in society. NEOCH does not usually get into discussions about the push for finding "homes" for animals when America does not take care to find housing for our brothers and sisters. In the 1990s we did not storm the Animal Protective League when it turned out that the animal shelter was cleaner and more hospitable then the men's shelters in Cleveland. But it is another thing when it is in your face. This week, fliers appeared all over the building in which NEOCH's main office is located inviting us to a fund raiser in support of "Homeless Animals." It had a cute couple holding a cat and a dog and asking the public to adopt a "homeless" animal. We were debating sending homeless people to the event and having them try to keep some of these "Homeless Animals" in their care, so that when the animals are adopted, the family gets a package deal. Adopt a pet and get a human companion along with the dog or cat. Why did these fliers show up at our office? Was this a message to NEOCH staff? Was this a message about the priorities of society? If we had more cute homeless people would there be more fliers for adopting homeless people? I have no answers.

Speaking of fund raising...
The NEOCH Annual fund raiser, "Partnering to End Homelessness" is tonight. Frank Jackson is the keynote speaker. We are awarding Mayor Jackson the Ione Biggs Social Justice Award. There will be silent auction, music and great food. We are full for the event, but we may have space for others at tables of people who RSVPed, but do not show up for the event. No homeless animals are allowed.

WCPN on Monday...
Tune in to WCPN Sound of Ideas program from 9 to 10 a.m. on Monday May 7 for a discussion about Health Care for Homeless people. I will be on the program to discuss this critical subject because studies show that homelessness has an impact on shortening a person's life.

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

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Congress Met Today

Homeless Meet with City/County Today

The Homeless Congress meeting today had a huge agenda, and was one of the best meetings we have ever had. Our good friend Cleveland Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland attended to hear about the Shelter Standards. She pledged to bring the issue to the rest of Council. We agreed to give the social service providers a month and a half to get comments back to the Congress. Homeless people who attend the June 21 meeting will review the comments and suggest changes to the standards. Ruth Gillett and Rick Werner of Cuyahoga County both attended, and Natoya Walker of the City of Cleveland also joined the Congress. Gillett had not seen the Shelter Standards document, but did say there were already minimum standards for shelters. She suggested that if homeless people had problems they should file a grievance with the shelter.

This is not a NEOCH meeting, so it would have been appropriate to stand up and scream at Ruth that her suggestions just do not work in the real world in the same style many homeless people face at night when they question shelter staff. The problem is that a grievance always stays within the shelter, and there is no impartial look at the problem. It is like suggesting to those families facing foreclosure because of a predatory loan that they file a grievance with the mortgage company that issued the unethical terms for the loan and expect that they will reform themselves. We have laws in place to protect tenants, homeowners, nursing home residents, but homeless people have no law to turn to for protections against being thrown out into the snow in the middle of the night.

The most interesting part of the meeting was the discussions about Aviation High School and the North Point Motel. As we have discussed Aviation will close on Halloween, but the scariest part of this is the unworkable plan that the City and County have developed to replace Aviation. Tonight there are 550 people using either 2100 Lakeside shelter and Aviation High School, which operates as an overflow. The City and County are pushing the other shelters to take up the slack and move more people into housing/transitional housing and treatment. They want to reduce the number to 375 this summer so that there is no need for an overflow shelter. Then they want to open North Point as a permanent housing facility. Based on the questions, the Homeless Congress members were very skeptical of this plan. It was amazing to me that the only people in the room that could do basic math were the homeless people. This plan had post-war Iraq planning written all over it.

We have 15 years of proof that we are not going to open a facility like North Point with two people in a private room and expect fewer people to utilize the homeless system. It is like these government people do not understand poverty and they work in the poorest city in America. There are so many people waiting for housing (Over 50,000 according to most studies), but many choose not to use the shelters. Most in the community feel shelters are degrading, dirty, unsafe, or have one of a thousand other reasons, but if the City makes a shelter available that has a private room more people will show up for help not fewer.

City and County officials made a commitment to continue to allow anyone who shows up at the door to sleep inside a shelter, which is unique to Cleveland. No one explained how all these people would fit inside 2100 Lakeside or how many would sleep in the halls and cafeteria after the loss of the Aviation overflow site.

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

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Brunner Speaks (a lot)

Secretary of State Attends Housing Conference

I was able to attend the Coalition on Housing and Homelessness Conference in Columbus last week. I presented a workshop on homeless people participating in the democratic process from registration to voting on election day along with a representative of the Secretary of State's office. Jennifer Brunner, current Secretary of State, gave a keynote address during the conference. She also was on WCPN on May 1.

At the conference, Brunner was described as the new sheriff in town. She brought a message to housing and homeless advocates that her goal is to make sure that if you want to vote and are eligible, her office will help facilitate that activity. She talked briefly about the NEOCH lawsuit and said that she opposed the identification requirements before it was passed, but now she is an elected official and must enforce the law. Brunner said that the state legislature, controlled by Republicans, is not willing to back down on the ID requirements. She said that there is very little evidence of voter fraud in which people attempt to vote more than one time, but the legislature will not back down on the ID law.

Brunner said that she will enforce current law, but with the goal of enfranchising every eligible citizen. To this end she issued a directive which we talked about in this space in early April. The directive provides some clarity for local Boards of Elections and it expands the number of documents that can be used for ID. It also allows students with ID from another state to vote. There are a few holes still, but it is a start. Our case with the State of Ohio and Brunner continues. We are looking for some compromise and settlement but we are not there yet. By the way, Secretary Brunner misidentified COHHIO as the plaintiff in the ID lawsuit and not NEOCH.

Brunner spent a good deal of time talking about the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections and their Board issues. She said that voting is important and the nation pays attention to Ohio. She stated that her election in November had donations from around the country and military service men and women from around the world who voted for her in order to see the election process cleaned up. She repeated the common refrain, "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation." She was critical of Ken Blackwell and his inability to provide direction or oversight of the election process. She repeatedly stressed accountability. Brunner talked a great deal about the fight with Bob Bennett, and the messed up Cuyahoga Board.

Having worked closely on the elections in the past, I was so glad to hear of the firing of the Board and the clean up of the elections. There are so many problems with our elections, I am not sure that she will be able to clean them all up during the next eight years before her term is expired. As Brunner said on WCPN this morning, I think the voters were looking for a change from the Blackwell era.

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