Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Just Do Not Understand

I Guess I Don't Understand Home

As we mark the three year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we must remember that New Orleans is still the "home of the homeless" as Harry Shearer says every week. I think back to the late 1980s earthquake in San Francisco, and remember that the city was much better off in 1992 than New Orleans is today. Why do we still have people sleeping in trailers in New Orleans? There were no trailers used in San Francisco. Why are large numbers sleeping in tents in New Orleans? Why has the infrastructure not returned? Why haven't the levees been replaced by a solid concrete levee system similar to the one used in Holland?

I find it amazing with Gustav bearing down on the region how attached people are to the city of New Orleans. I love Cleveland, but if a tornado destroyed my house, and there was a high likelihood that it would happen again, I would be outta here. I talked to a number of people who said that they would have never returned to New Orleans after Katrina and the rest said they would never return if they were forced to evacuate a second time in three years. I guess that I do not understand the value of "home." Will this be the knock out punch for New Orleans? What is so attractive about a place that a person would risk repeated property destruction in order to live? I admire that kind of loyalty, but I do not understand it.

I do not understand how anyone, Republican or Democrat, can say that they want smaller government after witnessing the results of small government in the Gulf Coast. We could have used a bigger government forcing the improvement of the levees. We needed a bigger government to evacuate and deploy resources after a crisis. We need government to provide a safety net and to provide for the common defense. Those who preach smaller government during elections, should be consistent and say, "Hey, New Orleans this is a new era of small government. All of you will have work through this disaster by yourselves. Why should all the rest of the United States taxpayers have to help one region?"

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

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CTO Hosting "Cruise with a Cause"

Help Out our Friends...

We work closely with the Cleveland Tenants Organization on a daily basis. We share resources and partner on some advocacy issues. It is only natural because our constituents want to be their constituents, and their constituents try everything they can not to be our constituents. CTO is hosting their annual fund raiser next weekend. We hope that you would be willing to support this great cause.

The Cleveland Tenants Organization is asking you to join them at their "Cruise for a Cause" on September 7th aboard the Nautica Queen (pictured above). Tickets are affordable, there is food and a nice ride around the North Coast. You can support safe, decent, affordable housing and the work of preventing evictions in Greater Cleveland.

CALL CTO TODAY and reserve your spot! Payment arrangements can be made anytime prior to the event! (216) 432-0617!


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

Monday, August 25, 2008

Homeless People do Vote!!!

NEOCH Needs Help To Get Out the Vote!!

Remembering Stephanie Tubbs Jones and her constant push to protect the voting rights of low income individuals, NEOCH is working in an all out effort to get homeless people to vote. We need your help getting homeless people to participate in democracy. As you may have seen in many Ohio newspapers, the Secretary of State released rules on registering and voting on the same day. There are five days in which a person can register or change their address at the Board of Elections office and then immediately ask for an absentee ballot and vote. Those votes are counted later in November as part of the presidential election. We are looking for help transporting homeless people to the polling places. We need vans and van drivers to volunteer September 30, October 1, October 2, October 3 and Monday October 6 to help with getting homeless people to vote. If you can volunteer on any of these days (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), please call Brian Davis at NEOCH at 432-0540 or e-mail at neoch [--at--] neoch [dot] org.

Most homeless people get registered to vote or change their address at the shelters. With the horrible ID provisions on election day, we are trying to encourage people to vote early. We understand that there is a great fondness for going into the polling place on one day when everyone else is voting, but this is becoming increasingly difficult. We need to demonstrate that homeless people care and will show up to vote. On election day, we have to provide transportation all over the County and even the region. During the five day overlap, we can provide transportation to one central point in Downtown Cleveland. Please volunteer to help expand democracy.


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

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stephanie Tubbs Jones

A Friend to Low Income People Leaves the Stage

All of the staff and Board at the Coalition are stunned by the loss of Stephanie Tubbs Jones as our representative to Congress. Rep. Tubbs Jones talked regularly about housing and health care, and was always willing to attend discussions about homelessness. She was a speaker at our Homeless Memorial Day to grieve for those who passed away, and spoke regularly on defending the rights of voters in Ohio. She recognized the Coalition as the place to get answers regarding homelessness. We supported her efforts to reintegrate those coming back from incarceration into the community, and wish that there had been a better environment in DC for her ideas on universal health care.

I remember Stephanie as always being so enthusiastic for her role as the leading advocate for Cleveland. She truly loved Cleveland, and was our heart. She was born in Cleveland, and was one of our best promoters on the national stage. We were well served in Washington by Rep. Tubbs Jones. The last event that we staged in which Tubbs Jones attended was in 2006 with our protest over the voter identification rules. It was the day before election day November 2006, and we called a vigil outside of the Board of Elections with a few homeless people and ACORN activists. A couple of elected officials attended, but toward the end of the vigil Ms. Jones comes out of the darkness exhausted from an entire day of walking, shaking hands and campaigning for other candidates. Her seat was safe so she traveled the county urging voters to support other democrats. She showed up about 8 p.m. in her slippers telling all those gathered that she felt this was an important event and had to attend. She said a few words before she headed east. We will miss her support; her strong voice, and her inspirational story. She embodied success having moved up the ladder through hard work to become a key decision maker in Cleveland. She was respected by both sides of the political spectrum as chief ethics officer for Congress, and she held powerful committee assignments that will take our region years to regain.

I attended and participated in a number of election time candidate panels featuring, moderated and hosted by Rep. Tubbs Jones. It was always an honor to be given the opportunity to share the stage with Cleveland's leading advocate. I also had the privilege of sitting on a panel with her as a few of the distinguished alumni of CWRU to inspire undergraduate students to work on solving problems in the community while they work toward their degree. She, of course, stole the show as a dynamic public speaker urging the young people to volunteer and bring their talents and treasure to Greater Cleveland. I know that she was a role model to young girls throughout the region who saw that strong women can be successful and can be powerful leaders. Stephanie Tubbs Jones was our regions Secretary of State and Chief Executive Officer, and it is going to take an exceptional person to recapture that role as a successful social justice crusader.

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We Are Back...

Join Community Shares for their Kickoff

Sorry, but I have taken a few days off so no posts recently. I was waiting for one of the Presidential candidates to announce Olympic Gold Medalist Michael Phelps as the choice for Vice Presidential candidate. Nothing yet... While we wait, please consider joining social justice advocates for the Community Shares kickoff.

NEOCH receives Community Shares dollars, and you can donate to NEOCH through Community Shares. We support Community Shares through our sweat equity and our support of the 36 other Shares funded organizations. We hope that you will support Community Shares by attending their kickoff of their 2008-9 Campaign:

September 4, 2008
11:00 am

Cleveland City Hall Rotunda
Invited Guest of Honor: Mayor Frank Jackson
Guest Speaker: Councilman Anthony Brancatelli

Participate to show your support!

Come out in support of Community Shares and its 36 social justice organizations.

  • Each member has a goal of getting 30 supporters to attend.
  • When you arrive, please be sure to register in support of your favorite Community Shares organization.
  • Bring your ID to enter City Hall.
  • Arrive early!
  • Refreshments!

We want 1,000 friends to attend!
For more information, call the Community Shares office at 216-361-9920.

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

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Another Fine Report from Policy Matters Ohio

Almost Slipped by...but check out the new study on the cost of Wal Mart to our society

This new report that was released last week "Public Benefits Subsidize Major Ohio Employers" by Policy Matters Ohio is a great example of how the free market system is not actually "free". The report written by Piet Van Lier shows how Wal Mart, most of the fast food places, Kroger, and in the height of irony the Cleveland Clinic have a large number of employees using the public health system of Medicaid for their health coverage.
"Costs to Ohio and the federal government for providing this coverage at major employers grew to just over $400 million in 2007. This includes an increase of 29 percent since 2004 in costs that Ohio paid for Medicaid coverage at employers for whom a four-year comparison was possible. Six of Ohio’s ten largest employers – Wal-Mart, Kroger, the Cleveland Clinic Health System, University Hospitals Health System, Bob Evans, and Meijer – are included on the list of employers with the largest number of employees using Medicaid, food stamps and cash assistance.
How could two health care providers rely on the public health system after winning so many awards? How could one of our richest American Corporations (who were caught campaigning against Democrats) to their managers rely so heavily on public assistance? If we assume that the average amount given to an employee per month in Food Stamps is around $80 per month because they take off for income earned then the state should send a bill to Wal Mart for the $8.2 million that we provided to their employees in Food Stamps. We could translate the Medicaid dollars spent on the 1,773 employees at the Cleveland Clinic and translate it to cash. We could provide universal health care and set up a WPA type employment program with the cash earned by charging major employers who are not paying workers enough to support their family.

Thanks to Ohio Policy Matters for another good report. I hope that politicians pick this up and start forcing these corporations and pseudo-non-profits to pull their own weight. Why do the lower and middle income have to tighten their belts in the face of high energy costs and a collapsing housing market, but corporations and CEOs can just reduce wages for their workforce and push healthcare, food costs, and even cash subsidies to the state and federal government to pick up?

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

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Even the Service Industry is Suffering

This was posted on the Crooks and Liars website this morning.

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide.

Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide

Talbots will close all 78 of its kids and men’s stores plus another 22 underperforming stores.

Gap Inc. closing 85 stores

Foot Locker to close 140 stores

Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores. The 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Levitz - the furniture retailer, announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910.

Home Depot store closings 15 of them amid a slumping US economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world’s largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store.

Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.

Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations to close with 4,000 employees following 5,000 layoffs last year.

Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores

Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.

KB Toys closing 356 stores around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.


I have been concerned that the United States no longer produces anything. We cannot feed ourselves, and we cannot supply our own natural resources. We moved into a service economy, and from the list above that is not working so well. It is hard to serve people who have no money to buy anything. The above list is certainly not comprehensive, but it is frightening. The United States does not even have a lock on technology anymore, and new ideas or inventions are coming from other parts of the world. In Cleveland, we faced a hurricane of foreclosures, substantial job losses, increases in utility costs, and there is talk of the destruction of Regional Transit Authority (massive fare increase at the same time we see massive service cuts). We saw a couple of American Cities (Detroit, Cleveland, and New Orleans) practically destroyed due to neglect and unregulated greed by the federal government. We need some leadership nationally to move this economy forward. This current strategy is not working, and large numbers of people are suffering every day because of tax cuts and unchecked capitalism.

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